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Manager: Nate Diaz declined to fight Edson Barboza

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Edson Barboza improved to 9-2 in the UFC with a unanimous decision victory over Bobby Green at UFC Fight Night 57, but Green wasn’t the original opponent the UFC wanted next for the Brazilian lightweight.

Barboza, who was coming off a first-round knockout over Evan Dunham in July, was offered a fight with Nate Diaz. The Brazilian lightweight accepted the challenge, but Diaz declined.

"He was supposed to fight Nate Diaz, but Nate didn’t accept the fight," Barboza’s manager Alex Davis told MMAFighting.com.

With five wins over the past six bouts after beating Green, Barboza and his team won’t call anyone out.

"We won’t look to opponents now," Davis said. "We have to beat anyone they put in front of us. Whatever they do, we will fight and win. We won’t call this or that guy out."

Nate Diaz, who returns to the Octagon against Rafael dos Anjos on Dec. 13, could be one of the options for Barboza if he beats dos Anjos.

"There’s Rafael dos Anjos vs. Nate Diaz and a few other good fights now, so (Barboza) should fight the winner of one of them next," Davis said. "I think that (Diaz) would be an interesting fight to promote Barboza in the media because (Barboza) doesn’t talk too much, so a fight with Nate Diaz would be good in that sense, but Bobby Green was also a great fight.

"There are many guys in this division, many tough fights," he continued. "We’ll have (Gilbert) Melendez vs. (Anthony) Pettis now, and there’s (Khabib) Nurmagomedov, (Abel) Trujillo and many other fighters, and (Barboza) can beat every single one of them."

Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner are the only fighters who handed Barboza defeats in his MMA career, and Davis believes that the Brazilian contender has made the changes he needed in order to become a high-level MMA fighter.

"He got all the pieces together," Davis said. "He lives in Florida and trains at American Top Team, and then he goes to New Jersey to sharpen his weapons with Mark Henry, Ricardo ‘Cachorrao’ (Almeida) and Anderson Franca, my son in law, and that is working perfectly. When he’s off camp, he’s training hard at ATT, and then he does specific training in Jersey.

"I believe he has everything to become the UFC lightweight champion. I know what he’s capable of. He became a top MMA fighter, and this is the best moment of his career. I’m really confident."

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