Longtime UFC lightweight contender Edson Barboza will be making a significant change in 2020.
After fighting a plethora of elite names at 155 pounds since his UFC debut in November 2010, the Brazilian will exit the division. Four losses in his past five fights have prompted Barboza (20-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC) to drop to featherweight, as was first reported by Combate.
MMA Junkie confirmed the decision with Barboza’s manager, Alex Davis, on Tuesday that the striking specialist is looking to make his debut at 145 pounds in the first quarter of 2020.
“The move to 145, provided he feels good, opens a lot of opportunity for him,” Davis told MMA Junkie. “I’m really more of a fan of seeing guys go up in weight than down. I’ve been more successful like that, for example with Thiago Santos. But in Edson’s case, he actually has a harder time staying heavy than he does dropping weight. I think that the way he sits in the 155 division, it makes sense for him to try 145. I think that after what (Jose) Aldo did, I personally did not think Aldo was going to look good at all, but we were all proved wrong. I think that Edson deserves the opportunity to try 145. I think there’s a lot of great fights there for him. The whole team, the coaches think he’s going to look fine. And he’s really, really excited.”
Although Barboza, 33, already is quite lean at lightweight, Davis assured that he’ll take the appropriate steps with his coaches at American Top Team to make sure the cut is done safety.
“He has a really good strength and conditioning coach, Phil Daru,” Davis said. “All the team likes the idea. I’m not the biggest fan of the whole weight system, but in this case I give my blessing. I think, provided he does everything correctly, and he gets there healthy, it’s going to be a problem for the division.”
Barboza, who is coming off a split decision loss to Paul Felder at UFC 242 in September, is currently awaiting a date and opponent from the UFC for his first career fight outside the lightweight division.
“If you look at the 155 division and the fights that are there for him, he’s fought everybody,” Davis said. “For his name and his career and his legacy, the drop to 145 gives an opportunity for a fresh start. We like all the fights in that division. We’re not going to be picking opponents. Whoever they tell us, we’re going to go against them.”
UFC's Edson Barboza dropping to featherweight; manager endorses 'fresh start'