Dan Ige doesn’t understand how people thought Edson Barboza beat him.
Back at UFC on ESPN 8, Barboza made his featherweight debut against the 15th-ranked, Dan Ige. Early on in the fight, the Brazilian dropped Ige but the Hawaiian rallied in the second and third rounds to win a split decision.
When he got dropped, Ige didn’t even realize what happened but knew he needed to get off his back.
“I didn’t really know I got dropped. I realized I was on the ground and he was landing bombs on me and I needed to defend myself properly,” Ige said to BJPENN.com. “It didn’t really hurt me but it flashed me where I ended up on the ground. Once I got up, I feel like I picked up the momentum and I lost the round but I picked up the momentum heading into the second.”
Ige ended up gaining momentum as the fight went on, and when the final horn sounded, many on social media were torn on who won. It came down to the second round, but for the Hawaiian, he says it was a clear win for him.
“I wanted to make a statement and fight the second round hard. I wanted to prove I could push the pace. I’ve watched the fight over 10 times and I think I won. I won four and a half minutes of the second round. He did hurt me, I didn’t go down but I was like ‘oh f**k’ it was a good shot. It hurt, went for a takedown, didn’t get it, so I pulled guard,” he explained. “I knew there wasn’t much time left so my coaches knew I did enough to win the second. After watching the fight, I won the fight, I don’t even see the argument how I didn’t win. If you are a true analyst, I did more damage and won the second and third rounds.”
Since the fight, Edson Barboza has demanded him getting his win bonus as Dana White said he won. But, for Dan Ige, he says if the Brazilian thinks he won, he will happily rematch him.
Yet, he knows he’s a bad matchup for Barboza and that is why the Brazilian hasn’t called for a rematch. He also hopes Barboza stays at featherweight despite the loss.
“I think he could beat anyone at 145 except for me. That’s the funny thing, he’s been going around saying he won the fight and he wants his win bonus,” he said. “But, he has yet to ask for a rematch. I’ve said I’ll rematch him but give me eight weeks of training because I will put him away. If he rematches me and loses again, he’s done which is why he hasn’t asked for it. I think he can be great at featherweight, there are some great matchups for him. He had his moments in the fight but I wanted it more.”
Now, coming off the biggest win of his career, Ige is looking to continue to build off that. The hope for him is he gets a top-10 opponent next and views Jeremy Stephens as a perfect next opponent.
“I’m just looking at winning. I believe I can beat anyone in the top-15,” he said. “I’m looking at people in front of me, and honestly, I mapped out the whole division, and I just feel like everything is in my favor. I’m excited about the future. I think me vs. Stephens is a good fight so I can take out another legend.”
In the end, Ige knows he can be in title contention by the end of the year, especially if he fights Stephens next. He also knows the perfect card for it to happen on.
“August-September. When Khabib and Gaethje fight, that would be a good card to be on. That would give me enough time to take my game to the next level,” he concluded.
Would you like to see Dan Ige vs. Jeremy Stephens next?