Edson Barboza addresses painful loss to Khabib.
Edson Barboza, the Lightweight contender, finally admits to dropping into a game of Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0) remained undefeated at UFC 219 on Saturday, December 30, as he thoroughly manhandled Edson Barboza for three rounds and won the bout via unanimous decision. It ended Barboza’s three-fight win streak to ashes.
Barboza, who entered the game off wins against the likes of Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez, seemed lost on the ground. Nurmagomedov beat him with elbows and punches, moved into mount and approached to choke him out on several occasions.
It was Barboza’s biggest fight of his life, and he came up short. Indeed it was admittedly one of the most painful losses in his career. He wants to take the lessons learned to keep training and improving-Barboza is ready to get back in the Octagon as soon as possible.
Barboza in his recent interview with MMA Fighting, where he candidly reveals he had a great camp preparing for Khabib and he played into Nurmagoemdov’s gameplan.
”I really didn’t expect that to happen, man. I was very upset the week after the fight because I was well prepared, had a wonderful camp.
“It was a tough loss, no doubt about it.
”It was pretty much how we imagined it. I knew he wouldn’t take me down in the middle of the Octagon. I knew that his only chance to take me down was close to the fence, so I obviously worked that a lot, but he was able to impose his game, and I couldn’t get out of there. That was the problem. I fell in his game, I spent 15 minutes doing his game.”
”Honestly, I didn’t expect that. He walked backwards in all of his previous fights before he went for takedowns. I was prepared for it, but I thought he would do what he always did, to avoid the striking. It surprised me that he moved forward.
”I was aware of what was happening the entire time, and I believed it until the end. Things were going wrong but I kept thinking, ‘Brother, if he gives me a chance I’ll finish the fight.’ I remember everything that happened that night.”
Barboza has reviewed the tape and the decision is simple: he played Nurmagomedov’s game and all credit goes to his challenger for that.
What stunned Barboza more than anything was Nurmagomedov’s frequently closing the distance with his pressuring footwork, denying him the space he prefers to work with to set up his dangerous kicks.
”If my corners had stopped the fight, I probably would have fought them all,” he said. “They know me really well, they know what I can handle. I’ve trained with millions of different people, the best boxers in New Jersey and Philadelphia, and they never knocked me down. They know me, they know what I can take, and they knew I could win at any moment.”
Barboza simply can’t wait to replace the negative octagon memories with good ones said he’s back in training, as he is helping his teammate Frankie Edgar for his upcoming featherweight title fight against Max Holloway at UFC 222.
I’m already training hard. I want to fight.”