Edson Barboza Isn’t Bothered by Kevin Lee’s Trash Talk: ‘The Time I Need to Talk is Inside the Octagon’

Edson Barboza knows that Kevin Lee is one of the more outspoken opponents that he's ever faced but none of that bothers him because he'll answer everything that's been said inside the Octagon

Edson Barboza is more a man of action than a man of words.

Throughout his UFC career, Barboza has a highlight reel filled with blistering finishes from his wheel kick knockout over Terry Etim that will probably still be played 20 years after he’s done fighting to his jumping knee that flatlined Beneil Dariush back in 2017.

That’s how Barboza prefers to do his talking rather than name calling opponents or saying outlandish statements just to get attention. This weekend, Barboza faces Kevin Lee in the main event at UFC Fight Night from Atlantic City and they couldn’t be more polar opposites.

While Barboza has no desire to engage in a war of words, Lee says pretty much anything and everything on his mind from thoughts about his opponents to his opinion on other contenders in the lightweight division.

The trash talk might get some attention but Barboza promises nothing Lee says to him or about him in the lead up to their fight will affect his performance. In fact, Barboza would prefer to just answer with his fists and feet rather than engage in a back and forth verbal war with Lee ahead of the fight.

“Come on, I’m a professional. I know what I need to do,” Barboza said. “He can say whatever he wants. I really don’t care what he says. I just focus 100-percent on me and what I say. I don’t really care what he says.

“The time I need to talk is inside the Octagon. That’s it.”

When it comes to the actual matchup on Saturday night, Barboza is excited to test himself against a fighter like Lee, who has really proven himself over the past year with a win over Michael Chiesa and a hard fought battle with Tony Ferguson last October.

On paper this main event might look like a classic ‘striker versus grappler’ scenario with Barboza’s deadly hands and feet matched up against Lee’s wrestling and submissions.

Barboza promises it’s not that simple because as much as he loves knocking people out, he’s not afraid to go to the ground with anybody and that includes Kevin Lee.

“I fight with the best guys in the world. It’s an MMA fight,” Barboza said. “He can play on the feet, he can play on the ground. I can play on the feet, I can play on the ground. It’s an MMA fight. Today most would say he’s a wrestling guy but everybody is complete. Everybody has something in all areas and Kevin Lee is no different.

“I can play on the ground, I can play on the feet, I’ll be ready wherever the fight goes.”

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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.