Monday, May 11, 2009

Phil Baroni fights with heart and heavy hands

Originally posted on

Phil Baroni is one of the most colorful and enigmatic fighters in all of MMA. The former professional kickboxer, collegiate wrestler and amateur boxer has made a name for himself as a knockout artist who isn't afraid to stand and trade shots. He's also both endeared and angered fans with his flashy ring entrances and boastful post fight comments.

For better or worse, Baroni has endured a rollercoaster ride through the landscape of MMA frought with debilitating lows, but always with the will to hold on knowing that another high was just around the bend.

Baroni dropped down to welterweight last year after suffering a three fight losing streak at middleweight. Three fights later he finds himself undefeated (3-0) in the weight class and has been very impressive in all three outings. cought up with Baroni over email to discuss a number of issues including; the ups and downs of his MMA career, his upcoming fight with Joe Riggs, and his recent move to the middleweight division where he's enjoyed a career resurgence. You've fought for most of your career as an undersized middleweight. Many had suggested that you could be better suited for welterweight and you finally made the switch going 3-0 at the weight and have looked very impressive in the process. What made you finally decide to make the move to welterweight?

Phil Baroni: Really I wish somebody would have told me earlier. I wasted my prime fighting against some of the worlds best middleweights. The reason I cut was something had to give. I new in my heart I was much better than my record. All the close losses against a lot of middleweight champions and top five guys was killing me inside. I just could not break through. I had to change something. Whenever people count you out, you seem to always come back strong with a winning streak. It happened when you left the UFC for Japan and now it's happening again with the move to welterweight. Do you get motivated by adversity to prove people wrong?

Phil Baroni: (Expletive) yeah I do. I'm a fighter. Fighters fight. They fight through adversity and find a way to succeed. A lot has been said of your upcoming fight with Joe Riggs. He's come out and said that he doesn't understand the match up and seems to be looking past you in the same way he complained about being looked over by Jake Shields. What are your thoughts on that and your message to Joe Riggs?

Phil Baroni: He will find out when they lock us in the cage together. I'm nobody to overlook or take lightly. I need this win bad and I will fight like I do. He is a kid. He'll have a lot more opportunities after I KO him.

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