Sometimes for a UFC fighter, a change of camps is the perfect move to help them revitalize their career.
Kickboxing expert and perineal lightweight contender Edson Barboza hopes this will be the case for him. The top-ten ranked fighter recently announced he’d be making the jump to American Top Team, one of the most prolific camps in existence.
Previously, the Brazilian striker will be training alongside the likes of Marlon Moraes and former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. With coaches like Mark Henry and Ricardo Almeida, the New Jersey-based camp was a good choice. But Barboza says switching to American Top Team in Florida was a good move.
Barboza said that he was still in the process of moving, and that would begin his training as soon as he got finished relocating. He also said he felt comfortable in the new location and had high hopes for how the change in camps would help improve his fight performance.
He also said he’d still be in contact with his old friends and coaches, saying: “I love them, coaches and training partners, but life brought me back to Florida. We’ll continue talking. It’s a bit complicated now that I’ll be on a different team, but I love them all.”
Barboza started out his career on a 10-0 winning streak, capped off by one of the greatest knockouts of all time when he wheel kicked Terry Etim in a finish that is still replayed heavily to this day. Despite setbacks against Jamie Varner, Donald Cerrone, and Michael Johnson, he continued racking up wins. He’d lose to the future interim champion Tony Ferguson before rebounding and taking on another future champion in Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Despite being game and sticking it out through all three rounds, and even despite landing his trademark wheel kick, Barboza was unable to mount any significant offense. Nurmagomedov dominated the grappling aspect of the fight, easily outpointing Barboza on route to a dominant unanimous decision.
He’d also lose to Kevin Lee via doctor’s stoppage in a fight that mirrored the Nurmagomedov bout. Barboza was dominated by Lee’s superior wrestling despite landing a devastating kick that put Lee on rubber legs.
Despite a couple rough setbacks, Barboza is 19-6 and has a win over former champion Anthony Pettis. He’s a skilled fighter who likely needs only a change in his training to help him get to the next level. His division is currently stacked, with Barboza hovering right outside of the top five. However, depending on how things go, he could easily work his way back closer to the top.
The champion Nurmagomedov is rumored to be taking on Conor McGregor soon though McGregor has been inactive for over a year. Interim champion Tony Ferguson is still recovering following a knee injury, while high-ranked Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez are set to face each other once again. With Kevin Lee seemingly unable to make the 155-pound limit anymore, the scene could be set for Barboza to make a title run.