UFC: Edson Barboza Explains Move To Featherweight

Edson Barboza has revealed that the reason he asked to be released form the UFC in March was because he was frustrated at not being offered a fight in several months.

The Brazilian lightweight veteran lost out to a close split-decision when he faced Paul Felder at UFC 242. However, he exited the Octagon uninjured and was keen to find his next opponent. Unfortunately however, the UFC left him on the sidelines for the remainder of the year.

In a recent interview with Ag Fight (as transcribed by Bloody Elbow), Edson opened up on the situation.

“My relationship with the UFC was always great. I never had any problems with them, it’s quite the opposite, actually. I’ve been working for the UFC for almost ten years now. I’m very grateful for everything, but I asked them to fight in December. I fought Felder, I didn’t get hurt. I told Alex [Davis, Barboza’s manager], ‘Alex, please, ask them for a fight in December’. But December came and went, then January, February, March and they wouldn’t give me a fight. Imagine that. I was training hard, wanting to fight, and wouldn’t get a fight.

“I don’t know if I wanted to leave the UFC,” Edson continued. “I just wanted to fight. Like I said, if they were not going to give me a fight, they might as well could have let me go look for work elsewhere. I need to fight, that’s what I do, what I love, it’s how I provide for my family. It was a bit of that, of just wanting to work. The problem is that after they came up with the ranking system, people started fighting less. I like to fight as much as possible, though. Two or three fights a year is too little for me. I always want to work more.”

Barboza eventually changed his mind and has stayed with the UFC after announcing he was moving down the featherweight. He is set to take on the number 15th ranked Dan Ige, in a bid to enter the 145lb rankings.

While Ige is on a five fight winning streak, Barboza has lost four out of his last five. Regardless of recent results, many still consider Edson to be one of the most devastating and technically gifted strikers on the roster.

“I have 22 UFC fights and am about to complete ten years with them. So it was getting kind of boring for me. I had fought most guys at lightweight and if you look at my last fights, it was always against guys behind me in the ranking. I needed a different kind of motivation, some extra motivation. Not that I couldn’t motivate myself to keep fighting, of course not, I love what I do. However, I needed something different. One day I was talking to my friends and my brother-in-law, I said: ‘Why not?’. I talked to my coaches and they said the same: ‘Why not? Let’s give it a try’. So I decided to drop down.”

Barboza and Ige are set to face off at the UFC’s May 16th card in Jacksonville, Florida. The third UFC card in eight days will be headlined by Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris, in a heavyweight clash.

Do you think Edson Barboza will make a successful featherweight debut against Dan Ige?

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