Both Edson Barboza and Justin Gaethje are known for their for the particularly devastating leg kicks and propensity towards finding enjoyment in violent fights and the Brazilian says he won’t be the first man to back down on Saturday night.
This weekend’s UFC on ESPN 2 headliners are among the lightweight division’s most exciting fighters and both have anchored their careers on a kicking game with little consideration for the well-being of their opponent, or themselves.
Gaethje has indicated in pre-fight interviews that he is unconcerned with what his opponent will bring and that his only consideration will be to toll up damage on his opponent throughout their (scheduled) five round fight.
And it seems that this is a challenge welcomed by the Brazilian.
“A lot of guys don’t talk about that,” Barboza said, quoted by MMA Fighting.
“I come from Muay Thai. Everybody tried to finish me with a leg kick, but nobody finished me yet with a leg kick. You can say whatever you want. I have two finishes in the UFC with leg kicks.
“He doesn’t have any finishes in the UFC with the leg kicks. It’s different. You see my style and his style, it’s very different. His leg kicks work well too, he’s a great fighter, but definitely I don’t have only the leg kicks. I have finishes with body kicks, I have finishes with high kicks. I’m definitely the best kicker in the game.”
Both fighters employ a similar arsenal, in the leg kick department at least, and Barboza says that this has made Gaethje a very enjoyable fighter to watch.
“He’s a fun guy to watch,” Barboza said. “People like him. And me too, I’m a big fan of [his] fights. I love to watch his fights. It’s going to be a fun night for us. … He has a lot of heart. He’s a true fighter. He walks forward, he goes to bang. That makes me very excited because this fight’s going to be a big war.”
And how does Barboza sum up this weekend’s challenge?
“I’m ready for pain, 25 minutes.”