Former UFC veteran and respected analyst Kenny Florian has given his own two cents on the title-credentials of last weekend’s UFC Fortaleza standout, Edson Barboza.
Edson Barboza is widely regarded as one of mixed martial arts’ most lethal kickboxers, with him holding several highlight reel finishes over the past few years, including a ‘KO of the Year’ contender last weekend over Beneil Dariush.
Barboza holds the honour of being the only fighter in the UFC to hold more than one leg-kick TKO victory and has only added to his notoriety with his latest showing. And though his UFC career is now reaching his seventh year, the former Ultimate Fighter standout and long-time UFC veteran Kenny Florian spoke at length on the latest edition of his popular Anik & Florian Podcast about the Brazilian’s title credentials.
“I think he beats [Eddie] Alvarez. And I truly think this, if he’s able to stop the takedown game of [Tony] Ferguson I think he’s the better striker. We saw Ferguson take a lot of damage in that [first] Barboza fight. I think Ferguson is obviously just a killer and just would not stop moving forward and I think that Barboza just kind of folded to that pressure a little bit, got tired and Ferguson outlasted him.”
“Nurmagomedov is the toughest style matchup for Barboza, but Barboza’s wrestling is looking much better and on the feet he beats all of those guys and yes, I do think he can be a champion.”
When Ferguson last fought Edson they engaged in one of the best back-and-forth contests of 2015 and though it was El Cucuy whose hand was raised on the night, Barboza’s showing was still one to be proud of.
Indeed, Florian harbours some high hopes for the Brazilian but despite already heaping the praise on him in the wake of his latest victory, Ken-Flo went one step further and continued on to match up him up against the divisional champion, the Notorious Conor McGregor.
“I tell you what. That guy is a terrible matchup for the lightweight champion Conor McGregor. He is an amazing striker. I think his speed, his ability to strike and his ability to not really throw himself off balance too much like he used to I think makes him a very tough matchup for Conor McGregor. I’m not saying he’s going to get that shot right now but style-wise, that’s a problem.”
“I do believe he can be a champion. The way he matches up against McGregor right now, I think it’s probably McGregor’s toughest striking matchup right now. Conor’s a phenomenal boxer, probably a little bit cleaner of a boxer but he’s not as fast and he’s not as powerful as Edson Barboza.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena