Pat "HD" Barry recently asked to be released from his UFC contract so he could make a return to his first love, the sport of kickboxing.
That return came at a small-hall show a few weeks ago. The first round was tumultuous, not least because Barry was vastly outsized, but in the second round it started to come together for him and he scored a big knockout to return to kickboxing with a bang.
Barry has a contract with GLORY World Series, the kickboxing premier league, and will debut for them at GLORY 16 on May 3 in Denver, Colorado. In the meantime, he tells Bloody Elbow why he is so excited for tonight's GLORY 15 card and why he's squashed his beef with Ernesto Hoost.
Aside from the strangeness of not fighting in a giant arena like with the UFC, how did the fight and the KO finish feel for you?
"That was the best feeling I have had in a long time. I love kickboxing, I have always loved kickboxing and I only want to kickbox from now on.
"Getting the finish is always my goal - I am not a distance fighter so if I don't get the finish that means I did something wrong."
Any scary moments in the first round? Any mental adjustments necessary from the years of MMA? It looked to me like you might have been a little MMA stance at first; standing with a longer base than straight kickboxing requires.
"You're absolutely right; I never believed in all that ring-rust stuff but round one proved to me that it really does exist.
"At one point I had no idea where I was - I think he knocked me out like eight times in the first round, ha!"
Now you're signed to GLORY and preparing to make your debut at their GLORY 16 show in Denver, Colorado. GLORY today is what K-1 used to be, a high-level, high-production show. Is this the realization of a dream?
"Absolutely. Being in GLORY means I am facing the best of the best, that's where I always wanted to be. There is no higher level in the sport of kickboxing right now."
You're matched with Zack Mkwessa for your GLORY debut. He has a professional boxing background and comes from Africa, where he has won national and international titles. Presumably leg kicks are the way to go but at the same time, obviously he'll be wise to that route. Is timing the key here?
"He and everybody else knows that leg-kicks are what I am well known for but seriously, a fight is a fight. Kickboxing is kicking and boxing... and knees... so really he has to be prepared for anything and everything, not just leg kicks."
"I don't like to make predictions because I am a firm believer that every fight is 50-50 once the bell rings. I will say that this is likely to be non-stop action from start to finish though, it's an exciting card."
Lastly, Ernesto Hoost said he was hurt by recent comments in which you allegedly accused him of not believing in you. He said that he gave you his all, and also that he believes you can KO anyone. Is the beef squashed now?
"Ernesto knows just as well as I do that the media can make anything sound like anything."
"I am very grateful and appreciative for the time that I had with him. He is now and always will be the greatest of all time. For him to give me a compliment like that means a lot and lets me know that I am doing something right."