Edson Barboza wants Khabib Nurmagomedov next in the Octagon.
Finally healed from a shoulder injury and cleared to train and compete, the Brazilian striker is targeting a UFC 219 return against “The Eagle” on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, as he said in an Instagram live stream Tuesday.
“I want to fight as soon as possible, man,” Barboza said. “I told my manager I’m good to go, and now I’m waiting. I had a complicated moment with the shoulder injury, but now I’m 100 percent ready, just waiting for someone to accept to fight me.”
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Nurmagomedov said his priority right now is to face Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight championship, but he would take on Barboza next if Ferguson is booked against Conor McGregor.
According to Barboza, the UFC offered him a bout with Nurmagomedov for Dec. 30 a couple of days ago, and he agreed.
“They offered me this fight and I accepted it,” Barboza said. “I said I’ll be ready for December 30, and it’s on him now. We’ll see what he does. I saw an interview with him yesterday and he said he’ll fight me if Conor fights Ferguson, and Dana (White) already said that fight will happen, so I believe my next fight will be against Khabib."
“I definitely want to fight him,” Barboza added. “He's definitely one of the best and I respect him, I respect his team. He’s definitely one of the best 155 in the world. He’s the No. 2 and I’m the No. 3, and that’s the fight that makes sense for us."
Nurmagomedov is undefeated in MMA with eight fights inside the Octagon, while Barboza rides a three-fight winning streak over Beneil Dariush, Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis.
"I see myself winning, that’s all,” Barboza said of a potential fight with Nurmagomedov. “I see myself winning all of my fights, and this one is no different. I really see myself winning this fight."
Eager to return to the cage against a top contender, Barboza is willing to go anywhere for a shot at the Russian lightweight.
“If they make this fight with Khabib in Russia? Of course,” he said. “It's just the two of us in the Octagon. People can scream and threat outside the Octagon, but wherever it is, brother, I’ll fight him anywhere.
"I'm in the best shape of my life,” he added. "I'm more excited than ever. I'm just waiting for a phone call. I want to fight the best, someone closer to me. I'm ready. You have no idea. I feel 100 percent, and I'm ready for a big war, like always. Every time I step in the cage you guys see a big war, and next time is not gonna be different. I'm really ready for a war."