Love him or hate him, there's no ignoring the 'New York Badass.'
Longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Phil Baroni is one of the great characters in the sport, a man who talks the talk and walks the walk, win or lose, you know he is going to come out guns blazing and leave it all in the cage.
It is almost a year since his ONE FC debut and after taking an ill advised fight against Chris Holland, which cost him his chance to face Roger Huerta in Kuala Lumpur, he has relocated from Las Vegas, rededicated himself to the sport and rehabilitated a long term shoulder injury which effectively prevented him from punching with his left arm.
In other words, Baroni is back and determined to seize his opportunity to shine in front of 16,500 Filipino fans at the Arenata Coliseum at ONE FC: 'Pride of a Nation.' It is a big stage but then Baroni is a big character and as always he has plenty to say for himself.
Check it out.
How do you feel about fighting in front of 16,500 fans in the same venue that Ali fought Frazier?
I'm stoked, I can't wait. I want to introduce myself to the Filipino MMA fans and show them what I'm all about. I can't fucking wait. I'm training my ass off and I'll be ready 100% to fuck this poor cat I'm fighting up. I don't think he knows what he got himself into. I'm ready and I'm able, I'm coming guns blazing. I'm gonna pump the Filipino fans up! They are gonna love the NYBA.
Where you training for this fight and who are you training with?
I'm training at AKA in San Jose. I relocated to San Jose. Fuck Lost Wages (Las Vegas!) the drinking , the gambling, the parting, staying up late, not training and everything that goes with the Vegas life style. I'm saving the partying till after my fight. I hear Manilla goes off and I can't wait to celebrate with all the new Filipino fans I'll have made on August 31st.
Are you doing anything different after your last two losses?
Yeah I'm training full time. I haven't stopped training since my last fight. As for the two losses come fight night the first one will have been a year ago and the second one was BS, I wasn't ready, I wasn't fit and I made a bad decision. I shouldn't have taken the fight. I was hardly cleared to train, never mind fight. but fuck it man, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
I have learned from that mistake and I won't be making that one again. The coaches at AKA begged me not to fight, told me I wasn't ready and I was injured on top of that. But I'm a fighter and fighters fight. I never want to back down from a challenge. I got too much pride sometimes but fuck I was wrong and I paid for it with an L. What I'm doing now is listening to my coaches and teammates. That's what I'm doing different.
I'm not going to make the same mistake again. I'm going to stay training and keep in shape and grow from this. when you stop growing you die, I'm not ready to die. I love this shit and I wanna keep going man. I want to keep fighting and representing my team, my country, myself, my family and myself in ONE FC.
You ever been to the Philippines before and are you looking forward to it?
No but I hear it's great. I know the women are beautiful and sure can dance. The Philippines breeds championship level fighters, look at Pac Man, look at Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire. And in MMA they have my man Ole Laursen. That guys my favorite fighter to watch, besides myself of course, in ONE FC. Look at Eduard Folayang... these guys are the real deal, they're top tier MMA fighters with Filipino blood.
The Philippines breeds championship level fighters, just look at Team Lakay. I expect big things and championships to come out of the Philippines in ONE FC.
What do you think about Rodrigo Ribeiro as an opponent?
I think he is a tough guy. He is a master in Jiu Jitsu and he trains with the top team in Asia. He is surrounded with talented work out partners, the best trainers in all aspects of MMA and a great head coach in Chatri Sityodtong who puts it all together. The guy is tough, he is well trained and will have a superb game plan but he is in big fucking trouble August 31st.
I sparred with him a bit, I have it on video. His spinning shit aint working on me, the only thing spinning will be his fucking brain when I concave his fucking temple with my newly reconstructed shoulder. I'm not a one armed fighter anymore and he is gonna find out the hard way what a problem that is for everyone at welterweight in ONE FC.
How do you see this fight ending?
What can the Filipino fans expect from you?
They can expect to see that I'm not just a sex symbol, they can expect to see why my picture is in the dictionary when you look up 'Real Fighter.' That I'm a savage monster beast and I can't be stopped. They can expect to see not only one of the most exciting fighters in ONE FC but the world on August 31. They can expect to see the start of a Phil Baroni who is going to become the undisputed ONE FC champion.
How have you enjoyed fighting for ONE FC and what do you think of it as an organization?
I love it! It's fucking great! It's the real deal. I have fought in the most prestigious promotions around the world and I'm more than happy to call ONE FC my home. It has the best rules, best judging criteria, the most eyes, the best fights and the hottest ring girls of any promotion. It has all the best of the UFC, Pride, and old school Brazilian Vale Tudo in one organization. It's the premier promotion in Asia and at the rate it's going and the others are losing steam soon to be the world. I mean what the fuck... they got me!
Do you still want to fight Roger Huerta and how do you see that going?
Who? Ummm I'm not sure who your talking about. Oh yeah the bald ugly guy who got his head kicked off? The guy with the big head? Yeah whatever man. I don't pick my opponents, that's not my job. I'll fight anybody, any time any place. All I know is I want to beat this pony boy (Ribeiro has a pony tail...) and get right back in the squared circle and fight on the next one fc card
What do you think of the ONE FC rules?
I think they ONE FC rules are the best rules out there. You can't hide behind them, you have to fight. It's kill or be killed, survival of the fittest, what Vale Tudo was meant to be in its purest form. It's a fucking fight man, not a mixed martial arts contest. It's a fucking fight and that's what people want to really see. And what I signed up to do!
To hear even more from Baroni check out this video.