This past Saturday at UFC 262, Edson Barboza (22-9) and Shane Burgos (13-3) kicked off the PPV main card. For the die-hard MMA fans, this fight was one that people have been anticipating ever since it was announced.
Barboza was making his third appearance in the UFC‘s featherweight division. After spending his entire career at 155 pounds, Barboza decided to drop down to featherweight. This move came on the heels of a few losses to the elite at 155 pounds.
While many questioned the move, he showed in his first fight that he belonged at 145 pounds. He lost a decision to Dan Ige, although, the vast majority of people believe that he won that fight. He won his second fight at 145 leading up to UFC 262.
Shane Burgos is one of the toughest outs in the featherweight division. Over the last few years, Burgos has beat some tough guys and his only two losses were to Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett.
This fight had fight of the night written all over it and it didn’t disappoint. From the opening bell, these two men traded bombs through the first two rounds. Neither man was willing to give and inch in this one.
In the third round, the fight was very much up in the air. Then, Barboza landed a massive right hand. At first, Burgos seemed to take it well. However, his body started to shut down and he fell backwards. Barboza followed up to get the TKO win at UFC 262.
What’s next after UFC 262?
This win was massive for Barboza and now he’s inside the UFC’s top ten at featherweight. With that in mind, what should the promotion do with him next? Well, the opponent right behind him makes a lot of sense to me.
Ranked tenth in the featherweight division is Giga Chikadze (13-2). Chikadze is an elite striker just like Barboza and so far he’s perfect inside the octagon. He’s coming off of back-to-back first round TKO victories.
The UFC is extremely high on Chikadze and he could be fast-tracked. A matchup between Barboza and Chikadze would provide a fresh contender for the top featherweights and it would be a fight that fans would be talking about for months leading up to the contest.