Ranked fifth in the UFC’s lightweight division with a two-fight winning streak over former champions under his belt, Edson Barboza is looking to continue his climb toward the lightweight throne.
Barboza most recently defeated ex-Strikeforce 155-pound champion Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 20 in July, and says he wants one of two names next: Michael Chiesa or Nate Diaz. He believes a win over either man would put him right in line.
“I’m in a good position in the rankings. I need a big fight,” Barboza told FOX Sports. “Eddie [Alvarez] is a good example. He beat two good guys and he got the title shot. I think I’m really close to the title shot. I need one more big fight and then I’d definitely be close to the title shot.
“I’ve been in the UFC for a long time. I think I deserve a big fight to put me close to the title shot.”
Chiesa was dealing with a back injury as recently as July, and planned about eight weeks of physical therapy before determining what his future would hold inside the cage.
Diaz, meanwhile, has yet to indicate he has any interest in fighting since dropping a majority decision against Conor McGregor in August.
Whatever the case, Barboza feels he has the necessary skills to top both top-10 fighters.
“I did really well my last two fights and I fought really good guys. I won both by unanimous decision. I think if I fought these two, I could do the same,” Barboza said. “I’m feeling better than ever. I feel like if I fight anybody in front of me, I’m confident I would win. I can dominate anybody in my division.”