The UFC has decided to retain Edson Barboza on its roster, with the veteran fighter has signed a new multi-fight deal with the organization. Barboza's manager Alex Davis broke the news to MMA Fighting without revealing his contract's exact terms.
“The UFC has opted to re-sign Barboza and keep him on the roster, and keep him active going forward. Barboza and I believe he has what it takes to make a run for the belt and become champion, and that’s his focus,” Alex Davis told MMA Fighting.
A staple of the UFC's lightweight division for over a decade, Edson Barboza has a 15-9 record under the UFC banner while his overall record as a professional MMA fighter stands at 21-9.
Barboza is known for his explosive, kick-heavy fighting style and well-bred takedown defense. 12 out of Barboza's 21 pro victories have come by the way of a knockout and he ties the record for most knockout wins in the UFC's lightweight division (seven) with Melvin Guillard. He also ties the record for multiple leg kick knockouts (two) with Antoni Hardonk.
Barboza became the first fighter in UFC history to score a knockout via wheel kick when he defeated Terry Etim at UFC 142 in 2012. The win is considered among the greatest pieces of UFC history and earned 'knockout of the year' honors from multiple outlets.
Edson Barboza's UFC career at a glance
Edson Barboza is a classic example of a fighter who was rushed into top-tier competition sooner than he should have been. After making his debut with the UFC holding a perfect 6-0 professional record, Barboza went on a four-fight winning streak in the lightweight division, scoring wins over the likes of Ross Pearson and Teri Etim. Although his initial run was impressive, the Brazilian was still a 26-year-old malleable talent that needed to be built into a contender over time.
Barboza fought former WEC lightweight champion, Jamie Varner, at UFC 146 in his fifth UFC fight and lost the fight via TKO in round one. The Brazilian's UFC career after the Varner fight saw multiple episodes of consecutive wins followed by losses in high-stakes fights.
Edson Barboza has defeated notable fighters Dan Hooker, Paul Felder, Beneil Dariush, and Gilbert Melendez. However, the flamboyant striker always fell short of breaking into the top tier of the lightweight division and lost to fighters like Tony Ferguson, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje, and Donald Cerrone to name a few.
Barboza's repeated failure to score breakout performances resulted in him being labelled the gatekeeper for the top five. A gatekeeper is a fighter who is so good that he maintains his spot among the top seven for a long time, but never crosses over that to become a contender.
Edson Barboza moved down to featherweight in 2020 to attempt a run at the title. After losing his divisional debut against Dan Ige via split decision, the Brazilian bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Makwan Amirkhani in October 2020.
Prior to his fight against Dan Ige, Edson Barboza had expressed his desire to fight out his contract and test waters as a free agent.