Phil ďThe New York BadassĒ Baroni has been responsible for some of MMAís most memorable knock outs. He owns the majority of clips from UFCís video series ďUltimate Knock OutsĒ in the early volumes of the series. After a decade in MMA Phil is still competing at the highest level and competing soon. Baroni will be fighting Brad Tavares at UFC 125 and Phil took some time out of his morning to bring all of us up to speed on whatís up with the ďBadassíĒ and his upcoming bout.
Jason Kelly: Hey Phil, Howís it going today?
Phil Baroni: Good man, I just made myself a nice breakfast and Iím about to eat it while I do this interview with you.
JK: You have a fight coming up on January 1st against Brad Tavares. How have preparations for that been going?
PB: Itís going great, you know. Things are right on schedule, everythingís going good.
JK: Where did you train for this fight?
PB: I trained at AKA, in San Jose. Looking back over the years they were all great fighters, everyone was a great fighter (at AKA). And Iím doing the work for this one; Iíve been here for three months. No one needs to worry about me being prepared; Iíll be prepared one-hundred percent.
JK: Have you finished your training camp for UFC 125? Or are you coming to the end?
PB: Iím a couple weeks away. Iím about twenty days away from fight night, so about fourteen hard days left.
JK: Was there a specific focal point in this camp, or just overall complete training?
PB: Overall complete training. Iím getting in shape, feeling good, working on my speed reactions. Getting my speed back, getting my strength back. You know, dropping down to 170 (pounds) took a lot out of me. So Iím trying to get my strength back, I did a lot of strength training out in (Las) Vegas at P.S.I. (Philippi Sports Institute). Mark Philippi and his crew of ďWorldís Strongest ManĒ guys, then for the fight camp, you know, I came out here to San Jose. Iíve been here (San Jose) for three months but, I have been building my body back up for about six months.
JK: Good to hear everything is going well in your training camp but, as for your opponents, do you use film to study your opponents?
PB: Yeah I do. But I donít get too into watching it because itís pretty easy to change up what you are going to do.
JK: How well do you know Tavaresí fight game?
PB: I think I got it down. I think he is just a well rounded fighter, I donít think he stands out in any one area. Thereís no one thing that I have to fear but, I have to be ready for everything, because heís a complete fighter. Heís a complete fighter, heís a young kid, heís a modern day mixed martial artist and I think heís probably always been a mixed martial artist. I donít think he has ever been a boxer, or a wrestler, or a jiu jitsu guy. You know, I mean heís just a martial artist; heís pretty well rounded, kind of like the Japanese fighters.
JK: You definitely have a lot of experience fighting those fighters
PB: Yeah, I kill those dim sum (as he laughs)
JK: When you returned to the UFC you said that you did not want to be a journeyman. Were you looking for stability as opposed to fighting all over the world?
PB: Well, UFC is all over the world
JK: Yeah true, but was it stability you wanted rather than be a journeyman?
PB: Man, Iím too old to be a journeyman. Hereís the thing, itís now or never and I think Iím at the best and right place with the UFC right now. Time to stake my claim.
JK: You bring an early onslaught that is damn near as frightening as certain death, is that something that is in you and will not change or do you plan on fighting at a more conservative pace in the future?
PB: Tavaresís will have to fear it; it works a lot of the time, so weíll see. I press, you know, I press hard, early. If heís still around it will be a dog fight.
JK: Nice. Youíre feeling good; everything is feeling right for this fight?
PB: No complaints man, No complaints. No excuses. I feel good, my weight is good, my conditioning is good, Iím pretty healthy. As healthy as I can be after going through an eight week training camp at AKA with one or two more weeks to go, everything is good man.
JK: What are your predictions for the outcome of your fight?
PB: I predict Iíll get the ďWĒ, you know. I predict Iím going to get a win and everybody knows how I win fights.
JK: You have some pretty serious company on that card with Frankie Edgar fighting Gray Maynard; do you have any predictions on the outcome of that fight?
PB: Iíve trained alongside Gray Maynard a lot and heís a really hard worker and a great fighter. He really wants to win this fight. So, you know, I think it will be a great fight and I canít wait to watch it after I win my fight.
JK: I was at the World MMA awards and I saw your car commercial, which was hilarious, is that a side we are going to see more of from Phil Baroni? A more humorous side?
PB: Thatís why I need to fight good, so I donít have to sell cars. Thatís no life.
JK: Well thank you for your time today Phil and I want to wish you the best of luck on January 1st.
PB: Thanks man, it means a lot. I appreciate that.
Phil Baroni has always embodied the true spirit of a New Yorker; I appreciate the heart of NYC and toughness of that city. If anyone deserves the ďNew York BadassĒ moniker, it is Phil Baroni. Talking to Phil, I sensed eagerness. Phil seems to want to really impress everyone in this fight and devastate Brad Tavares with a brutal knock out. That being said, Tavares must be prepared because a prepared, determined Phil Baroni can be detrimental to ones health.