Edson Barboza would be riding a five-fight win streak if it wasn’t for a "mistake" against Donald Cerrone.
Barboza wants another shot at fellow top 10 lightweight Cerrone inside the Octagon, and he feels he deserves one after stopping Evan Dunham in the first round at UFC Fight Night 45.
"My goal is to fight the best," Barboza told MMAFighting.com. "Every time I fight I feel more prepared. After my fight with Cerrone, I realized I’m at their same level. I can easily fight anyone (at the top 10). I want a well-ranked opponent, and I will be ready. If I do my game, I can beat anyone.
"I want to test myself against anyone ahead of me in the rankings, especially Cerrone. If they give me another fight with him, the result will be completely different."
Cerrone was set to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov, but the Russian prospect injured his knee right after signing the bout agreement, so Barboza offers himself to step in.
"He was scheduled to fight the Russian, but the fight is off. Who knows, maybe the UFC will give me another opportunity to fight him," he said. "I’m sure it would be a great fight."
Barboza fought "Cowboy" at UFC on FOX 11 in April, but tapped to a rear-naked choke in the first round.
"It happens. I made a mistake," the Brazilian said. "We’re fighting at the highest level. He had one chance and ended the fight. I know I would end the fight if I also had one opportunity. I was doing great, landed some good kicks and punches, but he caught me."
Barboza bounced back to the win column with an impressive finish over Dunham, and he wasn’t expecting to win like that.
"It’s really hard to put him away," he said. "He only suffered one knockout before and he fought tough opponents, but thank God everything went perfect. It was great. I landed a kick and won the fight.
"I honestly expected a three-round fight. We trained together before for three weeks. I knew he was tough, that he never quits and walks forward even if he’s getting beat up. I expected a tough fight, but I knew I could knock him out if I had one chance."
The reason why Barboza expected a three-round war with Dunham is because he knew exactly what to expect from him.
"When I first traveled to New Jersey to train with Frankie, I met him at the airport and found out he was also going to train with Frankie," he said. "We lived at the same house for three weeks to help Frankie (train for UFC 150). I stayed there after, but he went back to his gym.
"The reason why I took this fight is because I knew how tough he was, so I knew it would be a great fight."