ONE FC 8 happens this Friday, but the NYBA is already blogging about their next event. The following is Phil Baroni's guest blog post for Bloody Elbow as writes about the lead up to his ONE FC 9 bout against Japanese star from ZST, Nobutatsu Suzuki. The event happens on May 31 in Manila, Philippines.
It's Tuesday, about 6 p.m. I'm pretty f**king tired after team wrestling practice which was run by DC (Daniel Cormier). It was a pretty hard session, and not being in top shape made it even tougher. Especially when your training partner for most part was Jon Fitch. I've got 8 weeks before what pretty much is the biggest fight of my career.
I'm 1 and 1 in ONE FC, and May 31 is the last fight on my contract with them. I'm coming off a big win on my last fight with the promotion, and it was a first round KO of a guy who trains at Evolve MMA, a team of recruited champion fighters from around the world. I'd have to say it was one of my best performances ever.
The feeling of relief and happiness when the ref stopped the fight was probably my all-time best high after a win. I just felt great. The fight went perfect. Everything was just perfect that night. I really just couldn't have won in better fashion. The thought even ran through my mind about calling it a career that night. I couldn't think of a better way to end it with that and just ride off into the sunset.
But endings like that are only in fairy tales.
As great as the win was, it didn't make me rich, and I still need to work. I, like everyone else, need money to live, and inside the cage is where I earn my living.
I have to say again, that win made all the heart break and physical pain I've been through all the years prior worth it. It was just a great feeling. For the weeks leading up to that night, I was again the fighter I always wanted to be. Everything went perfect and I had a great time in Manila from the moment I landed. I enjoyed all the media interviews and appearances leading up to the fight.
I had a great fight week in Manila, and Mike Swick was my corner man for the first time. We just clicked. Mike was off training, recovering from surgery and he came to the gym on the days I sparred. He watched me and gave me advice, so in actuality we were working together closely for more than a week. My point being, the camp, the trip and the fight is pretty much the high point of my career thus far. Everything just went smoothly like clock work.
I had a great camp leading up to the fight. I stayed with my buddy King Mo and trained at AKA in San Jose for the fight. It was a great camp. At the time I was still living in Vegas with my wife and dog, and getting away from home to focus solely on my training really paid dividends.
As I mentioned before, I'm back at AKA now living and training here full time. I made the move after that win in ONE FC. I figured everything went great, I had a great performance, and all I have to do now is recreate the formula that won me the fight. That way I'd have a new life in ONE FC. I'd start a new page and close out my career with the best chapter yet.
Well that theory seemed good on paper. My wife and I packed up and moved to San Jose. We rented a house that was half the size for more than double the cost, which seriously sucks. Not only is my wife working 2 jobs, I had to work two nights a week on top of this, and it's taking away from my focus. It's causing a distraction from the only thing I came to San Jose to do, and that's to train.
I'm not being a real blogger-type guy. I'm just winging it and I figured at 8 weeks out, it would be a good time to start this blog. I guess I also have to mention my NYE fight against Hayato Sakurai, because my win in ONE FC wasn't my last fight.
Okay, let me try and get into this with out making excuses. To make a long story short, I lost to an out of shape, small, and not at his best, Sakurai by a f*cking bullshit decision -- a decision that still haunts me to this day, for more reasons than the outcome. It blowed and ruined the momentum that had me feeling good about myself after my best win.
I just want to tell the story, get it out there, get it off my chest, and be done with it.
I was supposed to fight Takenori Sato, a lefty and the reigning King of Pancrase. I believe it was supposed to happen on December 2 in Glory, before their plans changed and I eventually got Sakurai instead... Actually, it's a long f*cking story to be honest. Parts of it, I mentioned in my last blogs before the NYE fight. I'm not sure if the readers really care or want to know about it, but if you guys comment on this post and ask to know about it, I'll tell you in my next blog.
But anyway, I lost the fight, and I have been down ever since. I spent a month on the couch after that, not training and punishing myself for having such a poor performance and letting the judges find a way to rip me off.
-- And sorry to go off on another tangent but Frank Shamrock, go f*ck yourself you f*cking douchebag. You're a f*cking hater and you suck as a broadcaster. You're a complete f*cking jerk off, and your buddy Mauro is a f*cking dip shit himself. Call an unbiased fight, call the action, and call what you see. You guys are two dickheads, and I cant wait until I run into either one of you cocksuckers.
Ah, that's better. I feel a little better now, so back to my blog!
I'm about 10 or so lbs heavier than I would like to be before I cut, so I have been cleaning up my diet and doing more cardio lately. I'm also trying to pick up my intensity in Practice. It's hard getting my mind right instead of just pacing myself. I have to get my mindset where I'm pushing so hard that I'm totally exhausted after training. That's been hard to do. Like I said, I spent all of January on my couch eating shit and being pissed off at myself.
Oh jeez, I forgot to mention I went to Chang Mai in Thailand after the NYE fight in Japan. I trained at Team Quest gym because I knew of the two great trainers they recruited there from 13 coins.
When I booked the trip, I was still on a high and in great shape, still training hard fresh off my ONE FC fight in Manila. I had really been working on my Thai boxing a lot, so I figured I should check out Chang Mai on a training vacation after a big win in Japan. I was thinking, "what could be better?", but as you know, it didn't work out that way.
I mean, I still got at least one session a day, but my heart just wasn't into it after NYE. The trainers were great though. They were as good, if not better, than advertised and although I was a bit down, Chang Mai was a pretty cool, laid back, hippie Thailand experience. There's nothing like Phuket, but Chang Mai might have been better for me, especially after my fight. If I went to Phuket instead, I might not be home in Cali right now. I might have just given up, stayed there and never came back, like Roger Huerta.
Well f*ck, it's 8 weeks until the most important fight of my career. I'm pretty sore so that's good. I spent January on the couch, February half-assing it in the gym, and most of March getting my body somewhat fit and ready to push hard in April. I also trained a lot of jits last month, well alot of jits for me. We have a new jits coach, Leandro Viera from Checkmat, and a lot of his techniques are very east to apply in MMA. Well, at least for me, they are on the easy side. You're not going to see me on my back, fishing for submissions from my guard anytime soon. Although I could have used some of this shit during NYE, that's for sure. Especially since I was on top, in Sakurai's butterfly guard for about 12 or so minutes of the fight.
My body is feeling okay. Not as good as it did when I won my fight in ONE FC, but definitely healthier than I was going into the Sakurai fight. Come to think of it, I tried some stupid shit going into that fight, training wise. First off, after sparring hard with Riki Fukuda, a lefty, for my original opponent, I got injured and changed things up a bit. Partly to train around the injury, and partly thinking of it because I was looking for an easier way of doing things.
I shouldn't have changed the formula that worked. The thing that's worst about it, is I've done this before and I never got better results because of it. I'm in many ways my own worst enemy, and I've not only been so my whole career, but also my entire life. There are no short cuts or easy ways of doing things that can bring better results than good old fashioned hard work. Trust me on this one.
Jeez, I don't know where the f*ck I'm going with this blog. Let's just say I'm checking in. I'm 8 training weeks away from my fight in ONE FC. I'm happy Victor Cui is sending me back to Manila. Im appreciative of the opportunity to fight in the city I had my favorite fight in.
All in all, Victor has been really great to work for, and these days, fighting in ONE FC is the only promotion outside the UFC where you feel like you're fighting in the big leagues. I've fought for PRIDE. I've fought for the UFC. I've fought for Strikeforce. -- Speaking of, Scott Coker treated me the best! He flew me in first class, always got me suites at top notch hotels, and took me to the finest restaurants, all while I was courting my wife. I have to hand it to you Scott, we really pulled the wool over Ange's eyes. Scott had her thinking I was 'big time', and a superstar living the life. She actually thought I was about to be rich and famous. Thanks Scott we sure fooled her! -- Anyway, these are the types of shows where you feel you're really a part of something great, where you feel like "I made it. I'm fighting in the big leagues. My fight matters on the world level".
I'm going to go out there on May 31, and do something special. I will show the world I still deserve my spot in the big show. Not only because of the fights I've had in the past, but because of the way I am fighting now.
Let's close this with my thoughts going into this fight. My opponent is Nobutatsu Suzuki. He is 9 and 1, with all his wins coming by KO. So frankly, the odds are that winner of this fight win take it by knockout. Suzuki has never been KOed, but he has never fought me before either. With the rule set in ONE FC, I don't see him leaving the ring not having taken a trip to never never land courtesy of The New York Bad Ass. My prediction for the fight, is Nobu getting separated from consciousness and finally waking up with the taste of my dirty feet in his mouth!
-NYBA, Phil Baroni