Lightweight contender Edson Barboza reflects on his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 219.
To partially quote the late Bjørge Lillelien, Edson Barboza took one hell of a beating against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 219. Incredibly, Barboza withstood the insane amount of punishment he endured from the opening round, and was able to go the distance. The judges turned in scores of 30-25, 30-25, and 30-24, making this the most lopsided three-round scoring in the history of the UFC.
With the Brazilian taking an absolute thrashing, Joe Rogan was among those who said that Barboza’s corner should consider stopping the fight at the end of round 2. This obviously didn’t happen — corner stoppages in MMA are extremely rare to begin with — and Barboza is glad that they didn’t throw in the towel.
“If my corners had stopped the fight, I probably would have fought them all,” he said (via MMA Fighting). “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, who has scored some truly spectacular knockouts over the course of his UFC career, truly believed he could hand Khabib a dramatic loss, but it never materialized.
“I was aware of what was happening the entire time, and I believed it until the end,” Barboza said. “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.”
What surprised Barboza more than anything was Khabib repeatedly closing the distance with his pressuring foorwork, denying him the space he prefers to work with to set up his dangerous kicks.
”Honestly, I didn’t expect that,” Barboza said. “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.”
Barboza said he’s back in training, as he prepares to help his teammate Frankie Edgar for his featherweight title fight vs. Max Holloway at UFC 222. Unlike Edgar, Barboza currently doesn’t have a fight booked, but he says he’s willing to take on anyone in lightweight’s top-10 bar Eddie Alvarez, who is also a teammate of his.