Billy Quarantillo wants to stay busy in 2023, and he knows just how to get the upcoming campaign started.
The born-and-bred Buffalonian got back in the win column at UFC 282 in Las Vegas, picking up a thrilling second-round TKO of Alexander Hernandez and heading into the new year on a high note. Quarantillo already has a follow-up in mind, one that would place the hometown spotlight on him against a well-recognized opponent.
“My ideal situation would be — picture this, and I don’t know if the UFC is going there — Buffalo Sabres arena, KeyBank, April, Edson Barboza,” Quarantillo said on The MMA Hour. “Who says ‘no’ to that? Banger alert.”
Quarantillo, who originally hails from Lewiston, N.Y., a short drive from Buffalo, improved to 5-2 in the UFC with his most recent victory. He’s yet to face a ranked opponent, but has developed a following with his fan-friendly style and an active social media presence.
He’s optimistic that the UFC will make a trip to the “Queen City” soon, something the promotion hasn’t done since UFC 210 in April 2017.
“I’m just putting it out in the universe,” Quarantillo said. “They haven’t been to Buffalo in a while. They haven’t been to Tampa in a while, so those are still on my bucket list of things I need to do in my career. Those are ideally what I would like. I wasn’t even thinking about Edson Barboza. One of the reporters was like, ‘What do you think about Edson Barboza?’
“I actually wanted to call him out after the [Shane] Burgos fight, then I kind of forgot about him. I was actually watching your show and that little rodent Nate Landwehr was calling me out and he said, ‘Billy Q is coming off two losses in a row.’ I never lost two fights in a row in my whole career, and I was ready to jump in there and I was ready to make a video and go full heel calling him out. I think we would have an exciting fight, he’s just not as big of a name as Edson Barboza, who I believe is still ranked. I believe he’s 14 or 15. Legend of the sport, grew up watching him, that spinning heel kick, the whole thing, I think that would be fireworks. That would be my first option.”
Quarantillo went on to mention that he’d welcome a fight with Landwehr as well as with recent bantamweight transplant Nathaniel Wood. Fans have suggested to Quarantillo that he travel into enemy territory to fight Wood in London, an idea that he’s not thrilled with especially compared to the possibility of welcoming Barboza to Buffalo.
Currently, Quarantillo fights out of Tampa, Fla., and while he takes great pride in both his New York and Florida ties and is eager to eventually fight in both Buffalo and Tampa, he feels that the home of his beloved Bills could use his winning touch just a little more.
“I would say Buffalo, just because it’s where I grew up and I feel like a lot of people that grew up there, they’re kind of like the lovable losers,” Quarantillo said when asked which city means more to him. “We’ve never won a championship, it’s super cold, it’s super miserable. You hear me every fight, ‘Shout-out to Buffalo, shout-out to Lewiston’ and that’s because I want to bring as much love and attention to that area.
“I feel like Tampa — I love living here, I don’t want to move back to Buffalo, I want to live in Tampa still — but they win championships almost every year. They’re spoiled with championships and this is my adopted city, but Buffalo and Lewiston that will always be my hometown. My parents still live there. Every time I go there, I get off at the airport, I feel the cold air, I start getting that weird, tingly feeling, I always love going home there and visiting. Me bringing a championship would mean the world for me and that city.”