William Quarantillo didn’t care if his dad lost a fight to Edson Barboza. It didn’t matter to him. But knowing that meant everything to UFC featherweight Billy Quarantillo.
“I came back home, and it wasn’t the end of the world,” said Quarantillo, who got halted by the Brazilian vet in their April fight in Kansas City. “My son was still happy to see me, he didn't even give a s**t whether I won or lost; he was just upset that he had poop in his diaper and that I had to clean it and he didn't want to sit still.”
Quarantillo laughs, and while the loss still stings, having his wife and son there for him took a lot of the edge off.
“It definitely gives you some perspective, that there are bigger things in life than winning and losing,” he said. “At the same time, I'm just so competitive, like any fighter is. And that's probably why I've gotten this far. So, of course, in the back of my mind I'm like, oh man, that would've been such a big win and it would've been so cool, but it didn't change anything when it comes to me still trying to be the best dad ever. I'm still trying to do everything I can do for my son, and he’s not at the age yet where he really cares what I do. He loves me just being there for him.”
That won’t ever change in the eyes of young William, who recently turned a year old. In the meantime, by the time he gets to the age where he’s asking his father when he’s going to be in the UFC video game and wanting to go to fights, Billy Q has business to take care of, and that business is getting to the top of the featherweight division, starting with Saturday’s matchup with Damon Jackson.
“He's definitely one of those guys that I felt like we were going to fight,” said Quarantillo. “He was on a nice little winning streak, and with my management team, too, and the way it happened, he just fought Dan Ige in the co-main event for a Top 15 spot and I basically did the exact same thing. We both got caught, we both got knocked out, so I think the fight makes a lot of sense right now.
It’s also a fight that looks to be a good one on paper, but the Buffalo native would like to make it a little more one-sided in his favor.
“My goal is to make the fight as exciting as possible because when he's winning, when he's doing good, he's dominating the fight, he's controlling people, he's wrestling, and he actually does a good job slowing the fight down. So it's going to be my job to make sure the fight is as exciting as possible, keep him off my legs, keep it off the ground and to make the fight exciting because I can win a very exciting fight, but his best chances are to make the fight boring. So my goal is to give the fans what they want to see.”
Win or lose, Quarantillo has made it a point to do just that. It’s led him to five wins in his eight trips to the Octagon, a Fight of the Night bonus against Gabriel Benitez, a Performance of the Night bonus against Alexander Hernandez, and a fight with Shane Burgos that would have won Fight of the Night on any card not featuring Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler throwing hands with each other.
So it’s been a good run thus far for the 34-year-old, but one that’s not over yet. And if Quarantillo needed any reminders that he can still keep this going for a few more years, he doesn’t need to look any further than the man who beat him in April – the 37-year-old Barboza.
“Going into the fight, I knew what he was capable of, but yeah, absolutely, the way his body still looks, the way he moves, the way he's able to cut all that weight and put it back on and still be healthy. And I'm seeing that a lot more that the guys in the Top 15 are all like 30, 32, 33, 34. They're all in that range because I think that's where their prime is. I think it takes a lot of time to get the experience to get to this level, and it's very motivational. I definitely think I got a few more years in me, but we'll see. I'm taking this one fight at a time and Damon Jackson's the only thing I'm focusing on. After that, we can weigh our options.”
UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Font took place live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on August 5, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!