The following is a guest blog post from Phil Baroni, who will be taking on a BJJ Champ from Evolve MMA in Rodrigo Ribeiro as part of the ONE FC 5 card in Manila, Philippines. The event happens on August 31, and here are the NYBA's thoughts on the lead up to his fight.
I have about three weeks until my fight (or a few days till I board my flight to Manila). It's late Sunday night. I can't sleep as usual, so I figured why not hit the streets and get some road work in? I ran for about 50 minutes, although before I checked the clock in the kitchen I thought I ran for over an hour.
I ran my usual long loop that usually takes me an hour or so. Funny, I didn't even feel like I pushed it. I didn't have my iPod as the battery was dead, and I didn't feel like waiting around to charge it.
The house is dark and dead quiet. I tripped over one of King Mo's size-16 shoes on the way, and cursed his ass for leaving his clown shoes right in front of the door.
I feel pretty good. I was a bit sore before I left, but I'm feeling good right now. Today was my off day. I didn't do shit. I just chillaxed in the house. Oh yeah, I went to a Vietnamese coffee shop. Those are big here in San Jose. You know, the ones with the hot ass Asian chicks who wear short ass skirts and forget to put on panties. F*ck man, it beats Starbucks.
They're always bitchy to me cause I'm the only non-Asian dude in the joint. But f*ck it, I don't go there for conversation or even friendly service. I go there for strong ass coffee and to see hot young Asian chicks parade around and refill other dude's tee right in front of me. Ha ha! Nah, I really go there for the strong coffee.
There is a Pho spot and a good Thai food place in the same center that I eat at a lot, and what can I say? I like to have coffee after I eat.
Anyway tomorrow is Monday, and that means 4 hard rounds of sparring and 5 of grappling right after. Day one back starts with a bang, and I'm looking forward to it.
I feel recovered after a hard ass week. I'm pushing it as I see this fight as a must win for me. I'm doing everything I can to be at my best. I'm not going to Manila to lose, and I have set my sights on ONE FC gold.
I have never won a world championship. Twice, I was a fight away from a title shot in the UFC. Actually, 3 times. I fought in the Pride 83 kg GP twice, and left empty handed. I fought for the Icon Middleweight Championship and the Strikeforce Middleweight Championship against the legend Frank Shamrock, never leaving with a belt.
I've been the bridesmaid often, and it blows. I want a championship that means something before I'm done, and my sights are set on the ONE FC championship. It's a big promotion shown on 600 million homes on ESPN Asia. The promotion has major sponsorship and funding, and I really believe ONE FC will be around for a while and be the UFC of the Asian market. That's the reason I want its championship. I want to be the first ONE FC welterweight champion.
I've been really busting my ass at AKA. First off, I left my comfort zone and home for the last ten or so years in Las Vegas, and now that I've been gone for about 10 or 12 weeks, I can't believe I wasted so much time in that dump. The place was sucking the life out of me. It's a hell hole with a bunch of scum-suckers living there. It attracts them. Bright lights attract the insects, and I guess that's nature and what bright light at night can do. All the scumbags flock there. It is what it is, and I'm glad to be out of there.
I'm living with King Mo now. He is really helping my out by letting me stay with him and I've learned a lot from the guy. Let's just say I'm in a good positive place, and things couldn't be better.
My training has been going really well. I've been working on my game very hard. I've brought my wrestling up to where it was when I wrestled in college, and have found that mentality only a wrestler can understand. I can really push myself, and it's fun breaking people mentally by pushing them physically. I go to practice everyday thinking whose day do I want to ruin, whose mood and mentality am I going to do a number on today.
I have been really working my Thai boxing. I have a great Thai trainer here who is very technical and has shown me so many little details to get my game better. DC (Daniel Cormier) has also just given me the knowledge that a 2-time Olympian can only give you. He has really brought my wrestling game to it finest, and like I said, technically I'm better than I was in college. I just need to keep doing reps and I have plenty of time to dial it in.
My jits is really improving too. Leandro from Checkmat is our jits coach and he is really great. We have similar body types and I can do all the techniques he is teaching. I don't have to be over 6-feet or double jointed to pull off the stuff he is showing me. It's perfect technique for my body type and I've made so many improvements and adjustments that my ground game has skyrocketed...
Okay, Mo just finished getting his combat recovery done by Jose Garcia. It's my turn. Might as well, since I'm up and I don't have to be at practice until 12. I didn't expect to see Mo on a table in the living room getting worked on when I got back, but Jose is a crazy dude and works at all hours I see. So homie is here, might as well get extra work done. The recovery I had done by Dr. Evil last week had me feeling like a new man.
I can sleep when I'm dead. Word to your mother. I'm out.
-NYBA Phil Baroni