Long before UFC lightweight prospect Edson Barboza was kicking off heads in the cage, he was a 60-pound muay Thai phenom in his hometown of Nova Friburgo, Brazil.
In this 1995 video from one of Brazil’s longest-running TV programs, “Sports Spectacular,” 9-year-old Barboza is shown training on a soccer field in Nova Friburgo with muay Thai master Marcio Monnerat as part of Monnerat’s “Sport and Peace” social project. With only six months of training, Barboza was able to capture the Rio de Janeiro state muay Thai title in his weight class.
According to reporter Marcos Mendes, the young Barboza could rattle off a remarkable 34 kicks in 14 seconds.
“The explanation for that, besides talent, is discipline. The kid trains four hours daily,” says Mendes.
Even at 9 years old, Barboza had great ambition for his prizefighting career.
“My main goal is to fight for the world title in Europe,” Barboza says at the 1:52 mark. “I challenge anyone in my category.”
The reporter replies that Barboza will be beaten against such high-level competition. Barboza’s retort? “I’m also going to beat a lot.”