Phil Baroni is no stranger to stomping someone squarely in the face. With a bout with Yoshiyuki Yoshida just two weeks away, the former UFC and PRIDE veteran is ready to get back to the NHB style that Singapore based, ONE Fighting Championship is serving up in their debut show. The fight card will be broadcast in Asian territories via ESPN Star Sports to a rumored 500 million homes, and will stream on Sherdog for those that don’t have access to the televised event.
Baroni feels that this fight will be his rebirth in MMA, and that the rules definitely cater to his style of fighting. He states,
“When I got into this sport, it was NHB. This MMA wrestling sh*t, you know, holding a guy down and doing nothing is boring and not my style. I’m going to go out there and do whatever I can to get this guy out of there as quick as possible.” He says “I’m coming to show everybody that I’m still a contender, I’m still for real, and I can still fight.”
When asked about his opponent, Phil was very complimentary of Yoshida, despite a past reputation for being one of the biggest smack talkers in MMA.
“I think he’s a tough fighter. I think he’s underrated. He’s best known for getting KO’d by Koscheck and Johnson, but he’s had some good wins, he’s a good judoka, he’s got good submissions. He’s not afraid to fight so I think he’s going to be playing into my style and we’re going to go out there and mix it up and trade. I think it’s going to be an exciting fight and that’s why it’s the co main event.”
Baroni fielded questions about training camp and says he’s at AKA, his training home for the past several years. Luke Rockhold is his main sparring partner, as he is preparing for an upcoming match, also. He had this to say about what he misses most, during camp:
“I don’t know. Sex right now. I’m coming into this fight strong. It makes me mean. I’m mean and I’m hungry, and I don’t think anyone wants to be around me, especially stuck in a steel cage.”
With the feeling that he has to prove himself, and the years passing by a little quicker, the 35 year old brawler says he would be ready to fight again before the year is out, and wants to fight as much as possible. His contract is a non exclusive, 3 fight agreement, which leaves him wide open for other promotions, such as the newly reformed, Proelite.
After several stints in the commentary booth, Baroni states he’d like to do commentary between fights, and after his competitive days are over. Joe Rogan recently tweeted:
“My favorite fighter that I ever did commentary with was @philbaroni. He was f*cking HYSTERICAL. A smart company would hire him for it.”
The trademark smack talk has been conspicuously absent of late, and Baroni expanded on it by saying,
“I don’t have much to say. The whole smack talking thing is popular now. Guys like Chael Sonnen are reading the book that I wrote. I gotta do my talking with my fists and my knees and feet and elbows. That’s what I plan on doing. Yoshido hasn’t been disrespectful at all. The only problem I have with him is that he’s my opponent.”
In case you’re wondering what fight Phil is most anticipating, you need look no further than the upcoming title bout between Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz. He makes it clear that he’s a big fan of Diaz by stating,
“I was a fan of Nick Diaz before it was cool. He has unbelievable submissions, great stand up, he’s got heart and he’s gutsy. He doesn’t tap out and he gets up off the canvas when he’s hurt. These two are night and day kind of fighters. It’s like Mr. T vs. Ivan Drago. I dig Mr. T, I’m a fan of Mr. T” Baroni adds, “If it’s a fight, Nick Diaz can win for sure. If it’s a wrestling and holding match, I’ve got to give the edge to GSP. If he (St. Pierre) goes out there to fight, and it’s a scrap, I like Nick Diaz against almost anyone.”
To hear the audio version of this interview, please visit TapouT Radio