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. If you missed the earlier editions, you can check it here: PART 1: Scott Coker, Frank Shamrock, and Recreating that favorite week in Manila | PART 2: Cough Drops
I'm feeling like I'm in really good shape right now, and ready to go if the fight was this week. I turned the corner last week. My conditioning is on point, and more than a couple of guys at AKA commented that I'm in really good shape.
For the most part, I have to thank my new trainer Greg Surat for pushing me and getting me where I am today.
I'm ready to win my next fight in ONE FC. I'm not going to lie. I fell off the wagon for a full month after my NYE fight in Japan. I said "f*ck it", and enjoyed everything about my new home in Cali, from great Tacos, to really good Indian food, to my new favorite Vietnamese food -- especially Pho, which is great when the weather is shitty. Not to mention the flavor enhancers and appetite stimulants Nor Cal is know for producing as fine as its wine.
After a day of hitting pads, Greg decided it was better to go hiking and do some long bouts of slow easy cardio before we started fight prep.
It was a long road to where I am now. I went from gassing out on long hikes in Los Gatos, to blasting through team conditioning at AKA and even making it more challenging by having Greg incorporate holding Thai pads into my conditioning sessions along side of Luke Rockhold and Cain Velasquez, who are both preparing for huge fights.
The atmosphere at AKA is good. Everyone is focused and pushing hard. The guys all have big fights coming up and it's a good atmosphere to be in.
Rockhold is focused and ready for the biggest fight of his career. Cain is always ready and training hard, and a few of the other guys have fights as well.
Bellator was just at the gym recruiting talent, and a lot of our young talented guys you've never heard of will be making their debuts in Bellator really soon. I think Bellator had to be impressed with the talent and number of guys that are at AKA that are really good and at a level where they could easily be competing in the UFC.
I think Bellator did itself a favor coming to AKA. You should've seen them signing as many AKA guys as they have been with Russian fighters. There is a ton of unknown guys at AKA, and that's why the team is so strong. It's not just because of the guys you know anymore. It's because of the guys you don't know, the guys who have been flying under the radar. Expect to see the second wave of AKA talent explode in that promotion in the near future.
Now back to me, which is pretty much my favorite subject anyway. I'm good, and I'll be ready to go on May 31.
I'm coming for a KO finish, and I'm betting it wont take me longer than 5 minutes to get it. Yeah, my opponent has a great record at 9 and 1 with every single win coming by knockout, but as I've been saying for years, when it comes to MMA, records are for f*cking DJs.
His style is to always go for the KO, and that's perfectly suited for me. He will be coming at me hard, and I won't be hard to find. We will meet in the center of the cage and that's where I'll leave him, face down.
-NYBA, Phil Baroni