A UFC featherweight battle between contenders Ilia Topuria and Edson Barboza is in the early planning stages for an event later this year.
MMA journalist Ariel Helwani first reported news of the targeted booking.
“UFC is talking about booking Ilia Topuria vs. Edson Barboza next, I’m told. Not finalized yet!” Helwani wrote in a recent post on his Substack.
Topuria had initially expected to face adversary Movsar Evloev next, but the UFC is going in a different direction than what Topuria desires. He most recently defeated Jai Herbert via second-round knockout at UFC London earlier this year.
Topuria has competed at featherweight for most of his MMA career but hasn’t ruled out future bouts at lightweight. He is an undefeated 12-0 in his professional career with recent wins over Ryan Hall and Damon Jackson.
Topuria signed with the UFC following impressive stints in Brave CF and Cage Warriors in 2020.
If the proposed booking comes to fruition, Topuria will face his toughest test against the UFC veteran Barboza. While his featherweight run has come with mixed results, Barboza has competed against some of the top contenders at lightweight and featherweight.
Barboza is looking to get back in the win column after back-to-back losses to Bryce Mitchell and Giga Chikadze. Before that, he earned back-to-back wins at featherweight against Makwan Amirkhani and Shane Burgos.
What are your thoughts on the targeted Ilia Topuria vs. Edson Barboza matchup?