We're just a few weeks away from ONE FC: Pride of a Nation which goes down on August 31st live on ONEFC.com and we thought it would only be right to give Phil Baroni an exclusive Fight Blog hosted on MiddleEasy. The New York Bad Ass will take on Evolve MMA's Rodrigo Ribeiro in Manila at the end of this month, so check out what's floating through Baroni's mind in this first installment of his MiddleEasy Fight Blog, created by Phil Baroni.
My weekend was great. I spent the weekend in Huntington Beach. I had a wedding to go to in that area. And I trained at the HB Ultimate Training Center. Hits some pads...just had a great weekend. Hung out on the boardwalk. I just had a good time. It was the US Open of Surfing. I used to surf when I was a kid, so I was just chilling and watching that on the beach.
Today was wrestling practice at AKA. DC ran a really tough wrestle practice. It was real hard. We drilled hard, six five-minute rounds so like thirty minutes of hard drilling. Then we went from live five, five-minute matches.
My training has been great. I made the move, I committed myself 100%. I left Las Vegas. I made the move to San Jose, California to train full time at AKA — and not fuck around anymore in Sin City and gamble, drink all my money away -- party all my money away. Giving this one last go in ONE FC. I want to win a title before I’m done — before it's time to say goodbye. I feel like I have a good opportunity to do that in ONE FC.
Yeah, leaving Vegas -- there is nothing good there. All I was doing was gambling and drinking there -- staying out late and blowing all my money. I had to get the fuck out of there. I wasted a lot of time there for some reason. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been drawn back to that fucking place. Now that I’m here in San Jose full time. It feels great.
There is a big difference in recreational activities, rather than going to a slot bar and having a couple of drinks and putting a hundred bucks into a fucking video poker machine—I go to Santa Cruz. I hang out at the beach. I go hang out on the boardwalk. I go to Capitola. There’s so much shit to do here and so many nice things to see. I’m productive — a healthy lifestyle. I go to the farmer’s market and I get strawberries. You can go to the farmers market here and get healthy, organic fruit and be excited about that. In Vegas if I went to a slot bar and I hit a royal on a video poker machine, I’m either blowing it on strippers at the Spearmint Rhino or getting a table and bottle service at one of the night clubs in Las Vegas or blowing it that way, so here it’s a big difference. I either have my face in strippers’ asses or I have my face in fresh, organic strawberries.
I’m at AKA right now training with the team. A ton of guys there: Josh Thompson, Jon Fitch, Mike Swick and other guys who I don’t actually train with who are just in the room and bring it up a level like Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez. There’s so many guys here. Tyson Griffin is here. I’ve been training with him a lot. There’s a ton of talent. Everywhere you go, there’s a pretty intense guy training real hard and you can’t get an easy workout in if you wanted to — you just get smashed.
For wrestling—Daniel Cormier runs a great practice. It’s an Olympic-level practice. I really have gone back to my wrestling, my wrestling is a lot better than it has been. Over the years, I have kind of neglected it. Not only have I gotten it back but I’ve made some improvements -- technical improvements. My jiu-jitsu is always solid. We have a new coach here called Leandro from Brazil, he’s awesome. He’s helped my game a lot. My mind's a lot more opened—we’re going for a lot more stuff than in the past.
What’s going through my mind right now is that I really need a win. I’ve fucked up a lot. I’ve wasted a lot of time. Took some dumb fights — some of the fights I wasn’t ready just because I needed the money. I made some bad choices and haven’t been in the best shape. I didn’t train year-round. I would just train for two months — eight weeks to get in shape for a fight or get my weight down so I’d be able to fight. Now I’m training full time. Its better late than never. I can’t go back. I’m making the most of the time I have left. I feel good though. I feel great. I think I’m like — Chael Sonnen was saying — all the guys that he’s been around his whole career, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson...they are all peaking later. They are all better than they ever were at later stages in their career. Chael Sonnen -- when I was in UFC and working out he wasn’t even good and now he is one of the best in the world. Dan Henderson is better than he has ever been at 40 years old, so I think I am a late bloomer too. I took a little bit of time to mature and get my shit together. Like I said it's better late than never. I’ve got my shit together. I matured. I’m going to make the most of it.
I’ve always done well fighting in Asia. Muhammed Ali fought Joe Frasier — ‘Thrilla in Manila’ — I’m stoked to be fighting in a place like where history happened. I want to go out there and put on a great show. I want to win over the Filipino fans. There are a lot of great Filipino fighters right now coming up in boxing and also in mixed martial arts. In boxing everyone know Pac-Man and the Filipino Flash. There’s a lot of people coming out of the Philippines right now. A lot of world champions. In ONE FC you see world champions in mixed martial arts. They have a really educated fan base there. I can’t wait to introduce them to the New York Bad Ass. I want to come on strong with an impressive knock out. I’m going to train real hard for that and resurrect my career. Get back in the map. I know a lot of people count me out. I want to reestablish myself -- I’m looking at this as a resurrection opportunity to come back and restart my career and make good on what I should have done years ago.
It’s a great card — with a bunch of big name fighters (old and new). I want them to learn about the New York Bad Ass. That kid from New York after the fight is over. I want to steal the show. I want to be the best fighter there. To my fans in the U.S., thanks for all of the support over the years. Thank you so much. I’ve got one more run left in me for a world title. I’m looking to come away with a ONE FC championship before I’m done. I know a lot of people are counting me out but I want to thank my fans for their support—and my family and my wife and thanks for the support. I’m going to restart my career and jump start here with this move and this training environment — living here full time, I’ve rededicated myself to the sport. I’m older but I’m wiser and I’m stronger and take a look at me right now and you watch me train I'm 36 years old and I look better than the young kids.
My next move is to win the fucking title in One FC and let’s go from there.