Edson Barboza, former opponent of both Khabib and Gaethje, can't pick a winner ahead of UFC 254 (VIDEO) — RT Sport News

With fans of the fight arguing over who will be ahead in the highly anticipated UFC 254 main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje, a man who faced both of them says the fight is too short to name it .

Brazilian muay thai expert Edson Barboza has to take care of Makwan Amirkhani on UFC Fight Island this weekend, but the Finnish ace, who is occasionally training partner of Conor McGregor on the mats at SBG Ireland in Dublin, also has a rather unique one Perspective of the most anticipated fight of the year.

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In late 2017, Barboza found himself in the middle of a three-match winning streak in the UFC’s lightweight division, largely caused by his arsenal of vicious kicks and flying knee attacks. His run came to a shuddering halt as he stepped into the cage with Nurmagomedov, who was then a contender pursuing his own chance at UFC Gold.

Three rounds and fifteen minutes later (and with a 30-24 result from a cageside judge), Barboza’s own title ambitions were in ruins and Nurmagomedov’s were vastly improved.

Just over two years later, at a UFC main event, Barboza faced the other half of the UFC 254 main event, Justin Gaethje – and didn’t make it out of the first round by losing to knockout in the middle of the opening frame.

So one could argue that Barboza saw the best of both men: Khabib’s stifling, dominant top control and Gaethje’s harrowing knockout power.

But which of these two styles does he think will overturn the other on October 24th?

“It’s going to be a great fight,” Barboza told the media, including RT Sport, in Abu Dhabi.

“Talk about both guys, the best guys in the world. It’s a 50/50 fight. I don’t see anyone better than the other.

“Of course Khabib has more grappling and Justin Gaethje hits super hard and has great wrestling too. It’s a 50/50 fight.

“If Gaethje wins, I am not surprised. If Khabib wins, I am not surprised. It will be a great fight.”

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While Barboza stays firmly on the fence ahead of the showdown between Khabib and Gaethje, the Brazilian is perhaps the most ideal connection to judge the two fighters’ separate merits.

In order for Khabib to win, the most likely path to victory is expected to be the one he took during his previously undefeated career: take them down and dominate them on the floor – just like with Barboza.

In the meantime, Gaethje is hoping his incredibly powerful, pounding, and watery kicks will be enough to get the job done, and while fans, media, and quota makers are voicing all sorts of opinions, Barbozas is perhaps the most relevant: it’s everyone’s fight.