LAS VEGAS – Edson Barboza is always prepared to go to war inside the cage, especially when it’s a main event slot.

At UFC on ESPN 30, Barboza (22-9 MMA, 16-9 UFC) will take on Giga Chikadze in what will be his third main event bout with the promotion, although it will be his first marquee slot since moving down to 145 pounds.

Barboza, who has made 25 walks to the UFC octagon, has nearly double the fight experience of Chikadze (13-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) during his UFC tenure alone. However, the discrepancy in the number of fights between the two fighters doesn’t both the Brazilian. In fact, the matchup excited him when it was presented.

“When I see this fight on paper, I know it’s gonna be a great fight,” Barboza told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the UFC Apex on Wednesday. “I know people are gonna watch this fight. I had to say yes to this fight because it’s gonna be a war.”

Since making the switch from lightweight to featherweight, Barboza has gone 2-1, currently riding a two-fight win streak with wins over Makwan Amirkhani and Shane Burgos.

Giga Chikadze says Edson Barboza matchup will be two ninjas in ‘a real Mortal Kombat fight’

In a matchup that is sure to be a striking fan’s dream, both men have created spectacular highlight moments during their careers with their pinpoint punching and a dazzling array of kicks. But for Barboza, it’s not going to be about putting pressure on himself to get a finish, he just has to have fun.

“My goal is to go out there and have fun,” Barboza said. “I know if I go out there and give my best, it’s gonna be a great fight. I never think about going out there, ‘I got to finish!’ You know? Because if I know I go out there and fight – bro, I have 25 fights in the UFC. All those fights I go out there and (just) fight.

“It’s gonna be a great fight, I know.”

UFC on ESPN 30 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN+.


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