“The Eagle” dominated Barboza in the co-main event of UFC 219 on Dec. 30, putting on a one-sided performance to improve to 25-0 in the sport and giving the Brazilian “one of the most painful losses I’ve ever had.”
In his first interview since UFC 219, Barboza opened up about what went wrong inside the T-Mobile Arena.
”I really didn’t expect that to happen, man,” Barboza told MMA Fighting. “I was very upset the week after the fight because I was well prepared, had a wonderful camp. It was a tough loss, no doubt about it.”
”It was pretty much how we imagined it,” he continued. “I knew he wouldn’t take me down in the middle of the Octagon. I knew that his only chance to take me down was close to the fence, so I obviously worked that a lot, but he was able to impose his game, and I couldn’t get out of there. That was the problem. I fell in his game, I spent 15 minutes doing his game.”
The only thing that really surprised Barboza was Nurmagomedov rushing forward and closing the distance as soon as the round started, not giving him any room to set up his devastating kicks and knees.
”Honestly, I didn’t expect that,” Barboza admits. “He walked backwards in all of his previous fights before he went for takedowns. I was prepared for it, but I thought he would do what he always did, to avoid the striking. It surprised me that he moved forward.”