Billy Quarantillo is more than happy with the name he drew for his next fight.
The featherweight takes on standout Edson Barboza on April 15 at UFC Fight Night 222. It’s a bout that Quarantillo (17-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) has wanted for a long time given Barboza’s history and standing in the UFC.
The 34-year-old is confident that defeating Barboza will open the doors for big opportunities for his fighting career, and that’s why he’s determined to make a statement when they collide in the cage.
“These are the type of fights I dreamed of when I got into this sport,” Quarantillo told MMA Junkie Radio. “I was a fan of the top guys, the best strikers in the world, the best fighters in the world, guys who can push that pace and win big fights.
“After this fight, you look at my resume, especially if I can go get a highlight-reel finish. Man, these finishes are starting to add up. I’m 4-0 in fights in the UFC that have ended, so that’s basically the universe telling me that that’s what I need to do this fight to get to that next level and make it 5-0. This is my run right now.”
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Quarantillo most recently fought in December when he picked up a TKO win over Alexander Hernandez, which won a bonus for Performance of the Night. He’s 2-2 in his past four fights, but thinks everything is clicking and he’s coming into his best form.
“I just turned 34 a couple of days before my last fight, so this is my prime,” Quarantillo said. “Right now, I’m fighting a guy in the top 15, and get a big win and get ready to call someone out that’s a few spots above that. Do that again, and end the year, (I’m) fighting in those huge fights, top-five situations.”
As far as the approach against Barboza, Quarantillo has no problem giving away his game plan, unlike many fighters. Quarantillo thinks it’s obvious what he needs to do to get his hand raised against the Brazilian striker.
“I think I can talk about it pretty openly about what my game plan is,” Quarantillo said. “A lot of fighters are like, ‘Ah, I don’t want to tell you too much,’ but I think people that watch me know what I’m trying to do. They know that I’m trying to drag the fight out, wear you out, beat you wherever the fight goes – standing, wrestling, on the ground.
“Obviously, going against a guy like Edson Barboza, it wouldn’t be smart just to stand and bang with him and see who gets knocked out first. So I’m definitely trying to mix in everything that I can to make it an ugly fight, a fight I’m able to grind him down, and look to get that finish – whether it’s in the second round or third round or even the first round.
“That’s what I’m bringing to the fight, and everyone knows that. I can talk about it. The bell rings, and I’m going to be in his face, pushing the fight on him.”