Barboza’s career is overseen by veteran manager, Alex Davis, who recently told MMA Fighting.com that following Barboza’s stoppage win over Evan Dunham in July, the UFC approached them about fighting Diaz. Davis claims that they were on board with the bout, but that Diaz, however, was not.
While critics might try to spin this as Diaz ducking Barboza, it’s important to remember that at that juncture, the latter was not ranked #6 in the UFC’s lightweight division like he is now. In fact, until Barboza decisioned Bobby Green on November 22nd, the Brazilian was sitting at #11.
Further, it wasn’t that long ago when Diaz was embroiled in a nasty contract dispute with the UFC, and in the summer, no one really knew when the lightweight was going to return to action. Part of his peace agreement with the UFC, likely included getting a bout with a top ranked fighter like dos Anjos.
Diaz aside, there’s no question that Barboza is headed for a fight with a leading contender next, and Davis had this to say about who they’re interested in facing:
“There’s Rafael dos Anjos vs. Nate Diaz and a few other good fights now, so (Barboza) should fight the winner of one of them next,” Davis said. “I think that (Diaz) would be an interesting fight to promote Barboza in the media because (Barboza) doesn’t talk too much, so a fight with Nate Diaz would be good in that sense, but Bobby Green was also a great fight.”
Davis also went on to argue that Barboza can defeat the likes of Gilbert Melendez, Khabib, Nurmagomedov, Abel Trujillo and yes, champion Anthony Pettis. How about that for some high praise / promoting?
It will be interesting to see what comes next for Barboza, who has gone 9-2 (somewhat quietly in terms of coverage really) in the UFC. The only men who have defeated the 28 year-old Brazilian in the Octagon are Evan Dunham and Donald Cerrone.
Diaz’s scrap with dos Anjos will take place on December 13th, at UFC on FOX 13, in Phoenix, Arizona.