Edson Barboza believes the only way is up after defeating Shane Burgos at UFC 262 to record his second consecutive win for the first time since July 2016.
After dropping a split decision to Dan Ige on his featherweight debut, Barboza (22-9) has reeled off back-to-back wins over Burgos and Makwan Amirkhani.
The Brazilian fighter says he feels right at home at 145 pounds, having spent most of his career campaigning in the weight class above at lightweight, and it appears he has already planned his next move.
"You can see the top five guys: Calvin Kattar, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit [Magomedsharipov], 'Korean [Zombie]', Max Holloway," Barboza said to MMA Junkie. "That’s a main event. That’s a pay-per-view fight, for sure.
"UFC always gives me a chance to fight the best guys at 155. I hope they give me the chance to fight the best guys at 145."
An explosive and deadly striker, Barboza produced one of the most incredible knockouts in UFC history when he knocked out Terry Etim with a spinning wheel kick at UFC 142 in January 2012.
As for Holloway, the former long-time UFC featherweight champion is likely to face the winner of Alexander Volkanovski's upcoming title defense against Brian Ortega, which is expected to take place after filming wraps on the finale of 'The Ultimate Fighter' season 29.
While Barboza admits he's still holding out hope for a fight against Holloway, he's not too fussed either way as long as he gets to fight a top-ranked opponent.
Having said that, at the end of the day, he's willing to fight whoever the UFC puts in front of him.
"Make a fight me and Holloway, five rounds, that would be crazy," he added. "That would be [one where] 100 percent people would love this fight. Me against Kattar, me against Rodriguez.
"I really believe I really deserve a top-five guy because my last two fights – I beat Ige, [who] was a top 10. Now I beat Burgos, he’s a top 10.
"I believe all my history with my performances, I really deserve a top-five next."
Although Barboza doesn't have his next fight booked yet, he says it won't be long before he's back in the gym training at American Top Team as he hopes to stay active in the immediate future.
He continued: "I think I saw a card on the Aug. 27 or something like that.
"That’s going to be perfect. Rest this week, back to training next week.
"End of August going to be perfect to get back to fight."News Now - Sport News