Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Edson “Junior” Barboza Jr., 31, has a tough mission to accomplish on Dec. 30, Saturday. If the Brazilian mixed martial artist emerges victorious at “UFC 219,” he will be the first MMA fighter to defeat Khabib “The Eagle”Nurmagomedov, an undefeated Russian fighter with 24 wins.
The lightweight bout between Nurmagomedov and Barboza is the co-main event of “UFC 219,” which will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. The main event is a UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship bout between current champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino and former champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm.
Barboza currently holds a record of 19 wins and 4 losses. The only four opponents he lost to since his professional MMA debut in 2009 are Jamie Varner, Donald Cerrone, Michael Johnson and Tony Ferguson.
Johnson is the most recent opponent of Nurmagomedov before “UFC 219.” The latter submitted the former via kimura at “UFC 205” on Nov. 12, 2016 in New York City, New York.
After losing to Nurmagomedov, Johnson faced Justin Gaethje at “The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption Finale” on July 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gaethje knocked out Johnson at 4:48 of Round 2.
On Feb. 22, 2015, Barboza lost to Johnson via unanimous decision at “UFC Fight Night: Bigfoot vs. Mir.” Barboza’s most recent fight before “UFC 219” was on March 11 at “UFC Fight Night” Belfort vs. Gastelum” in Fortaleza, Brazil, where he knocked out Beneil Dariush via flying knee at 3:35 of Round 2.
Barboza’s win over Dariush was also declared the Performance of the Night at “UFC Fight Night” Belfort vs. Gastelum.” On Dec. 27, Wednesday, it was also named 2017 Knockout of the Year by Sherdog.
In kickboxing, Barboza holds a record of 25 wins and 3 losses. Here is a video featuring the Brazilian fighter and his Russian “UFC 219” opponent: