Saturday, June 06, 2009

Baroni Found His Niche

Originally posted on

Phil Baroni never had trouble selling a fight, but when it came to backing up his words, there were times he couldn’t deliver.

On June 6, though, he wants to deliver for Strikeforce against Joe Riggs.

A nine-year veteran of the sport, Baroni has fought for everyone under the sun and knows how the fight game works. He knows that for the most part, it's just business, and slurs are a part of the game.

“Do I like to talk (expletive)?” he asked. “Depends on who I’m fighting. I always seem to fight (expletive).”

But he says he didn’t have control over perhaps the most important part of his business –preparation for fights. He overtrained, undertrained, neglected huge parts of preparation like, for instance, jiu-jitsu.

Baroni has racked up three quick victories since dropping from welterweight to middleweight, and says he’s turned a corner.

“Losing 16 pounds of muscle helped a lot,” said Baroni. “I never thought I could make weight, and now that I’m able to do it, I’m real excited. I feel like I’m 19 years old again. I feel young. I feel like I should be on a box of Wheaties.”

The native New Yorker is eating soy and hemp along with his usual fish and chicken; he’s not a full-blown vegetarian, but it helps him from bulking up too much.

He’s training jiu-jitsu, finally, with ace Robert Drysdale, and splits his striking work between Shawn Tompkins and Gil Martinez. The wrestlers of Xtreme Couture provide the rest.

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