Coach Hopes Edson Barboza Takes a Breather After Back-to-Back Wars

Edson Barboza's coach would like to see him take an extended break after a pair of battles over the past six months

No one will ever question Edson Barboza’s toughness.

The Brazilian striker known for some of the most spectacular knockouts in UFC history has gone through a pair of back-to-back wars against Khabib Nurmagomedov and Kevin Lee in consecutive fights.

While Barboza remains ranked as one of the top 10 lightweights in the world, those kind of grueling wars take a toll on a fighter even when walking away with a win.

Of course it didn’t take long after the fight for Barboza to say he was anxious to book another bout to wash the bad taste of two straight losses from his mouth.

Barboza’s head coach Mark Henry knows better than anybody how much his fighters hate losing, which is why he absolutely sympathizes with the desire to get back into the cage sooner rather than later. At the same time, Henry acknowledges that Barboza would be doing himself a favor by taking a little break before accepting another fight from the UFC.

“Edson, it’s his first time losing two fights in a row and he’s such a competitor. The thing with Edson and a lot of guys on our team is they just don’t say no to anybody,” Henry said when talking about Barboza. “Our guys want to fight and Edson is the same way. Not that anything would have been different, but Edson just came off a serious, serious surgery before the Khabib fight and I would have rather him wait. He hadn’t even tested out his shoulder yet and he’s been out for months. Hadn’t sparred, hadn’t trained but he was offered the fight and he took it.

“Edson’s just a beast. He’s not afraid of anybody. It’s like Frankie Edgar, you ask him to fight somebody he’s not going to say no. He’s such a warrior, he’ll fight anybody, any time, just tell him where to be.”

Henry had the same opinion of Edgar accepting a matchup against Cub Swanson just weeks after suffering a TKO loss to Brian Ortega but he will always stand by his athletes when they decide to fight.

When it comes to Barboza, who is now about two months removed from his fight with Kevin Lee, Henry will absolutely help him get ready for whatever comes next but he hopes deep down that the UFC will give him a little time off.

“He just had two fights that were pretty close together and like I said, he really hasn’t gone back to a regular schedule that he’s used to. They put a stat up during his fight that Edson has some of the best defensive wrestling in the UFC and he does, but he just hasn’t had the time to put into his wrestling that he usually does in training. I’d love to see him get back into the swing of things in that aspect, take his time, spend some time with his family cause he’s been training so hard for these fights. Just enjoy life a little bit and worry about himself instead of another opponent,” Henry added.

“Edson is the best. He has a lot of fights in the UFC and he definitely deserves it. I kind of hope the UFC doesn’t come asking because he wouldn’t say no.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.