James Lees: What do you feel went wrong in your last fight with Amir Sadollah?
Phil Baroni: I did it all wrong man. I cut 22lbs in less than 72 hours. I mean, you saw Jake Shields' fight the other week...he didn't look so good either having to cut a lot of weight. It was a big mistake and if I ever go down in weight again I'd do it a lot differently. I think I'm just better off at 185lbs to be honest though. Cutting so much weight especially towards the end as the fight draws closer – you just don't recover. It was a big problem and I had a poor performance in that fight. I wasn't feeling well and was just struggling going into the fight but you know, I signed the contract, I was scheduled to fight and I needed the money.
JL: How has training in Thailand changed you? How did it compare to training in the States?
NYBA: If you want to learn Muay Thai there is no better place than Thailand. Same thing if you wanted to learn Jiu-Jitsu then you'd go to Brazil. Being out there really helped me. I worked on a lot of techniques especially clinch work and a lot of kicks. I've always had some problems in the clinch where I've taken knees from a lot of opponents. I think though, that I'll be ready and a lot better
I was training twice a day, six times per week when I was there. I was having private training sessions with the best trainers they have there including Kru Yod who is a legendary kickboxer.
JL: Your next fight is against Brad Tavares at UFC 125. Your thoughts on the fight? What can fans expect?
NYBA: It's a very important fight for me and my career. I'm doing everything I can to be in the best possible condition that I can be. Tavares is a typical Hawaiian you know? He's a really tough guy, a good stand-up fighter and a good athlete. And he fights with some balls too. It's going to be a standup fight and whoever hits the hardest is going to win. I think I'm going to hit harder than him and I don't think he can take what I can dish out. We'll find out though.
JL: Back when you were starting out, did you ever imagine MMA becoming as big as it is now?
NYBA: Never. Not at all. I mean, I had hopes that it would but I never thought it would happen. I don't know if anyone did. I only wish I could have known because I would have trained a lot harder and really made sure that my game was at a much higher level.
JL: What if the UFC hadn't been an option for you? If MMA had never taken off what would you have done?
NYBA: I dunno man....pro wrestling? (laughs) I dunno man, I'm too short for pro wrestling. Who knows? I'm just happy that it was an option and now I'm just going to focus on doing the best that I can. What would I have done? Who the hell knows? All I know is that I wouldn't be as happy as I am now fighting in the UFC.
Read entire interview...
Related MMA gear from the UG Store