LAS VEGAS – Bryce Mitchell strongly thinks he’s more than just a grappler.

The rising UFC featherweight is not happy with the generalization that his upcoming bout against veteran Edson Barboza is simply a grappler versus a striker matchup on the main card of UFC 272 in Las Vegas.

Mitchell (14-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) feels the people labeling him a grappler are overlooking his other strengths in his game.

“I mean that’s how y’all can look at it, but I’ve had 30-something fights, legal fights, and I’ve never started a fight on the ground – believe it or not,” Mitchell told reporters at Wednesday’s UFC 272 media day. “Every single fight I’ve started it on the feet and I’ve never said, ‘Hey, you wanna fight? Let’s start in the guard.’

“The fights engage on the feet, so I don’t look at myself as a (grappler). I’m a fighter. Whatever people want to label me that’s whatever they want to. That’s fine. They’re open to their own interpretation.”

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Barboza (22-10 MMA, 16-10 UFC) has been fighting in the UFC since 2010. He’s one of the more experienced fighters on the UFC roster. Mitchell looks up to the Brazilian and admires who he is inside and outside the cage. Either way, the 27-year-old is not going to let his high regard for Barboza get in the way of his fighting on Saturday night.

“Well, he’s going to try to do all sorts of stuff to my face,” Mitchell said. “I respect him to the end, but we’re going to battle it out, brother. It’s going to get ugly in that cage, but I don’t wish nothing but good for him in his life.”


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