The following is Part 2 of Phil Baroni's thoughts as he blogs about the lead up to his ONE FC 5 bout against Evolve MMA's Rodrigo Ribeiro. If you missed the first edition, you can check it out here: Phil Baroni's ONE FC 5 Guest Blog: Living With King Mo, Training, Coffee, And Asian Chicks.
I just got my plane ticket set up for my fight. I leave Wednesday morning for Manila and I fight the following Friday night at the same arena Ali and Smoking Joe traded leather for their 3rd and final fight together. The 'Thrilla in Manila' baby. Hell yeah, that means something to me and I'm sure every fighter on the card that night.
I'm really excited to be fighting there. I've fought in many big venues but this one is special. Kinda like the first time I fought at the MGM. Walking into the lobby at the hotel and seeing the UFC promos playing on the screens in the lobby had me feeling like I made it. I was fighting in the big time. 12 years later, I'll have that same feeling when I land in Manila and get off the plane. I'll feel like I made it, all over again. ONE FC: Pride of a Nation. Pretty f*cking cool. Especially for a knock around kid from NY.
"What's being a tough guy ever gonna get you? What's fighting going to do besides ending up dead or in jail."
Well Mr. Wernsback, you bald little prick. You were right that day you kicked me out of school. (He's the dean of Massapequa High School who threw me out during my senior year - a week before the State Championships in wrestling that I was ranked 1st in). Yeah I had a few brief visits to the detention center, but that's not all being a tough guy got me. It got me on PPV, Howard Stern, CBS, SPIKE, Fuji TV, and now on ESPN Asia. Being a tough guy got me out of NY and all the way to Japan, where I had a few Geisha girls. Korea, where I had some pretty good BBQ. Amsterdam, where I smoked the finest weed. Costa Rica, where let's just say I was up for over 48 hours. England, Las Vegas, Cali, India, Singapore, Russia, Italy, Prague, Thailand and Malaysia.
So you were wrong, dip shit. Fighting, and being -- what was the word you called me? -- a 'BAD ASS', got me pretty f*cking far. What did being a dean get you, dip shit? A fat ugly wife who hates you, and two kids you can stand. Ha ha! You were right, I shouldn't have cut study hall and cursed out the attendance officer.
Anyway, I'm training my ass off and although this is cliche for a fighter to boast, I am in the best shape of my life. I've had the longest training camp ever. My wrestling is better than it was in college thanks to DC. My Jits is off the hook, because our new coach Leandro actually likes me and teaches me shit. Javiar Mendez has my boxing on point, and my Thai boxing coach Jasper has my kickboxing game looking crisp.
Things are great at AKA. My camp has been top notch. I'm doing what needs to be done, and have the best fighters in the world to train with.
The AKA reality show Fight Factory airs 8-15 on NUVO TV, and I hear I have a pretty big part in it. So all the chips are falling into place, and when I beat the f*ck out of Pony Boy in front of 22000 screaming Filipinos, all the trials and tribulations I've been through on my roller coaster ride of a career will all be worth it.
I've been training hard twice everyday, plus running and lifting. I've been strict on my diet, and the weight cut will be very easy. Not like the 23-pounds in 24 hours cut I made against Amir Sadollah that had the UFC advising me to have my next fight at 185. I'll be lean, mean and ready to go.
We spar hard at AKA. Hard as f*ck. Basically, we fight 3 times a week to prepare for our fights here, and let's just say I've sat a few motherf*ckers down in sparring.
I'm on point, my mind's right, and my body is right. I'm reedy for battle on August 31.
I can't wait to get on the f*cking plane. I'm sick of training and I want to punish Pony Boy for even thinking he has a shot. I've made a lot of sacrifices for this fight. My prep has been my priority. I haven't seen my wife in 8 weeks, and let's just say my legs are real strong and I'm a grumpy bastard.
I've been living, sleeping, and breathing MMA. It's all that's on my mind and I'm consumed by it. I feel like a rookie again. ONE FC has given me new life. An opportunity to control my destiny and resurrect my career in Asia, like I did in PRIDE.
I'm thankful for the opportunity, and I will make the most of it. Conditioning will not be a factor unless Ribeiro isn't in top shape. If he isn't and manages to last a round or two, I'll drown his ass with my conditioning in deep water.
If he thinks his Muay Thai training with his championship coaching staff at Evolve is going to help him, his ass is sadly mistaken. Pony Boy, you're a Jits guy, and if you try and stand, you're gonna get hurt. Your Thai training is not gonna help you. See, your coaches are going to be locked outside, and all that's going to be in the cage with you, are me and my fists.
I'm real fast Ribeiro. I'm really really fast. Slip up and you'll get lit up, Pony Boy... And you're no safer on the ground either. I'll cut through your old-school guard like a hot knife through butter. I'm a member of the Hammer House. Don't ever forget that. Mark Coleman invented Ground and Pound, and when I'm on top of you, you will see what G-and-P 2.0 is all about. It's not going to be pretty.
I haven't soccer kicked anybody since 2005. I'm long overdue to punt some one in the head. August 31 is opening day for Punting season. Slip up and give me a chance Pony, and I'm kicking your f*cking dome off.
Okay, enough about my fight and what's gonna happen. Today was wrestling practice and I wore my singlet and shoes just to get my mindset right. I train wrestling like I'm getting ready for the Olympic trials. I train hard and focused. DC has me airing motherf*ckers. Don't be surprised if you see Ribeiro go Pony Tail over heels come fight night.
The team is great at AKA. Everyone is training hard, and the intensity is up a notch in the room. Cain is preparing to get his title back. DC is prepping for Frank Mir. Jon Fitch is ready to make his comeback. Gray Maynard is in the house and so is Tyson Griffin. Riki Fukuda is working his ass off. The team morale is high, and everyone is pushing.
The room is like a factory, and the guys are like machines. You can sneak a peek into it tonight on NUVO TV.
I'm really happy to be here, and to finally have made the move and commitment to my career. I'm focused and at peace, yet also on edge. It's because I know that not long from now, they will be locking a cage with a poor Brazilian guy who I'm going to take out a whole lot of frustration on. See it live on YouTube, August 31st.
-NYBA Phil Baroni