Edson Barboza may be short on significant wins, but that isn't holding him back from saying he's a contender for the UFC lightweight title.
Barboza looks for fourth win with the promotion Saturday night against Terry Etim.
He's looking to build on dominant wins over Mike Lullo and Ross Pearson, and a tightly contested victory over Njokuani. Barboza was outlanded in that fight 72-46. The young Brazilian is feeling good about his start in the UFC.
"I think I'm already in the mix," Barboza told MMAjunkie.com.
Many would argue with Barboza, who has yet to face a top level grappler yet. That's a big factor considering the top of the division is filled with former college wrestlers like Frank Edgar, Clay Guida, Gray Maynard and Jim Miller.
Barboza (9-0, 3-0 UFC) explained further.
"Anyone who's in the UFC is there because they're very skilled. That's a fact. With every opponent, the more difficult the fight, and I'm working hard so I can always meet new, more difficult challenges on equal terms. I know I have it in me to do so."
His striking can be dynamic at times, but only if he matches it with high volume which he didn't do against Njokuani.
In Etim, he faces his most well-rounded opponent. The young Brit has four "Submission of the Night" bonuses, but he's far from a takedown artist. It'll be interesting to see if Barboza's aggression on the feet leaves his him in any vulnerable positions to set up a sub.
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