Mixed martial artists do everything in their power within the confines of legal activity to gain an upper hand leading into a fight. This may include anything from training at altitude, hiring a nutritionist or spending $300,000 to fly a whole slew of world-class athletes to one location. But sometimes, when nothing else can be done, fighters think outside the box to give them the best chance to succeed inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon.
For Phillip Nover, who takes on Renan Barao in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 95 later tonight (Sat., Sept. 24, 2016) from Ginasio Nilson Nelson arena in Brasilia, Brazil, preparing to get booed may be the key ingredient to capturing Octagon success on enemy territory. According to the 32-year-old New York native, who will make just his fourth UFC appearance tonight, listening to endless negative banter on tape has helped him mentally prepare for "The Baron."
"I guess it's a mental weapon, because I know I'm fighting in Brazil against a hometown hero, Barao," said Nover in a recent interview with Sportv (h/t Bloody Elbow). "I prepared myself by downloading 15 minutes straight of old boos, because I know I have to mentally prepare for the situation. I listen to it while I'm working out."
While fighters have done countless things in the past to gain an edge in the mental game, such as knockout predictions and personal attacks, Nover is taking a completely different approach. But according to Barao, who also sat down with Sportv, playing a tape of boos isn't the same thing as competing in Brazil.
"15 minutes of booing is different from 10 thousand people booing you. And there's no 'uh, vai morrer', which is a totally different thing," said the former UFC bantamweight champion."
Considering Barao is going to come out firing in the co-main event, Nover better have his walkman ready to roll. UFC Fight Night 95 will be headlined by a 140-pound catchweight bout between Cris Cyborg and Lina Lansberg.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 95 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.