Edson Barboza of Brazil prepares to face Khabib Nurmagomedov in their lightweight bout during the UFC 219 event inside T-Mobile Arena on December 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The lightweight division continues to be log jammed at the moment. The current champion in Khabib Nurmagomedov is only likely to return in November after his suspension, Conor McGregor is aiming for a summer return after his own suspension, and Tony Ferguson is currently dealing with personal problems.

It is why there is now an interim lightweight title fight taking place next month at UFC 236 between featherweight champion Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier. As all this is happening, #6 ranked Edson Barboza will be facing the always-entertaining Justin Gaethje this week at UFC on ESPN 2, and he’s only focused on his opponent rather than the top of the 155-division.

“It’s funny because in the lightweight division, the top guys are always in trouble,” Barboza told The Body Lock’s Michael Fiedel.

“I don’t really think about those guys. I know I have a fight coming up, I’ve trained a lot and I’m ready to go.”

Training for a war

Now training at American Top Team in recent months, Barboza is also making use of his new teammate in Poirier, who successfully defeated Gaethje in a Fight of the Year candidate last year. And the Brazilian is expecting a similar war.

“He’s [Poirier] helped me a lot for this fight because he fought against Gaethje. He’s helped, he’s a nice guy and I hope ATT have more belts.”

“Like I said, it’s going to be a big war. I’m training for a big war. Of course, he’s [Poirier] helped, ‘he’s good at this, he’s not good at this.’ For sure, he’s helped me for this next fight.”

Edson Barboza of Brazil kicks Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia in their lightweight bout during the UFC 219 event
Edson Barboza kicks Khabib Nurmagomedov during the UFC 219 event in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC)

Barboza’s last loss came to Kevin Lee last year, but with the latter moving up to welterweight, he will now move up a spot in the rankings to the top five. He is sure a couple more wins will result in a potential title shot.

“Yeah, for sure. If I win a couple of fights, definitely I’ll be close for the title shot. I’m number six in the world right now and I’ll be close.”

Fighting Poirier for the title?

But what would happen if Poirier went on to defeat Holloway and then Nurmagomedov to become the undisputed lightweight champion?

“I don’t think about that right now. He’s helped me a lot for this fight. He’s such a nice guy, I have a lot of respect for him and I don’t think about that. I really hope he beats Holloway, gets the belt and I just focus on my next fight. If it maybe happens in the future, let’s think about it then.”

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