Having turned pro at age 18, a then-rail thin Mario Barrios knew his stay at super bantamweight and even featherweight would just serve as temporary housing until he ultimately found his man strength.

For a while it seemed like the 130-pound division would be the place he called home, but eight straight knockouts since moving up in weight has proven to the San Antonio (Tex.) native that he is finally right where he belongs.

“This was the plan all along, to move up to a division where I can win my first world title and then win as many as possible as I keep putting on weight,” Barrios (24-0, 16KOs) told BoxingScene.com of his intentional move up the scale. “Right now, I’m a true (super lightweight). For the past couple of years, this is where I knew I’d first become a champion.”

He still has a way to go before claiming that status, beginning with his secondary 140-pound title fight versus Batyr Akhmedov, which takes place Sept. 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. The bout airs in supporting capacity to a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event topped by the welterweight title unification clash between Errol Spence Jr. (25-0, 21KOs) and Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17KOs).

The winner of the main event will command attention as the best welterweight in the world today. The winner of Barrios’ clash with the multi-cultured Akhmedov (7-0, 6KOs) will simply enter the conversation of rising contenders in the loaded super lightweight division.

It’s a first step and it’s good enough.

“Right now I'm still making the weight comfortably, so that goal is going to remain the same,” Barrios said of his planning to win on Sept. 28 and parlay the trinket into a shot at the full title claimant. “There's no doubt I'm going to move up to welterweight eventually; but that time isn't now.”

Instead, he hopes a win on this card will generate enough profile to put him in position to challenge the winner of the Oct. 26 World. Boxing Super Series finals between unbeaten titlists Regis Prograis (24-0, 20KOs) and Josh Taylor (15-0, 12KOs). Until that day comes, he will openly embrace a title win on Sept. 28 and all future challenges that will come with it.

“That's exactly how I look at it, “Barrios notes of the belt at stake serving as a bargaining chip for the division’s bigger players, such as Prograis, Taylor and unified titist Jose Ramirez (25-0, 17KOs). “I wanted this fight. I felt I'd really proven myself in my past few fights but this one for sure, it's going to put all the world champions on notice that I'm right there knocking on the door to be fighting them next.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox