Edson Barboza has finally opened up on his emphatic loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 219.
Regarded as one of the most talented strikers in the UFC’s lightweight division, several pundits had suspected that Edson Barboza would cause Khabib Nurmagomedov severe difficulty at UFC 219.
However, when the pair eventually faced off in the Octagon, the Brazilian looked to be completely out of his depth with Nurmagomedov dominating the fight for the entirety of the three-round contest.
Barboza did not give any interviews after the defeat but, speaking to MMA Fighting, the 31-year-old has now opened up on the ‘painful’ loss explaining how he was completely taken aback by the undefeated Russian’s approach inside the Octagon.
“I really didn’t expect that to happen, man,” Barboza told MMA Fighting. “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.”
“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.”
Although Barboza stated that he expected Nurmagomedov to push him to the cage in order to force takedowns, the Brazilian also stated that he was confused by the undefeated Russian’s decision to rush him rather than move backwards and wait for opportunities.
”Honestly, I didn’t expect that,” Barboza admits. “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.”
Although Barboza took such a battering in the first two rounds that he was asked by referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy if he wanted to continue before the third round commenced, the 31-year-old stated that he still believed that he could win the fight right until the very end.
“I was aware of what was happening the entire time, and I believed it until the end,” the Brazilian 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.”
Check out the full interview on MMAFighting.com here.