Pat Barry may be the only fighter in the UFC who's willing to admit it, but he's pretty sure he's not the only one who feels it.
When his impending fight against Joey Beltran at the UFC's Fight for the Troops 2 finally began to seem a little more real this week, he wasn't exactly feeling eager to get in there and slug it out. More like eager to get it over with.
"Honestly, I don't think it's anything new or particular to me," Barry said. "I think most guys feel this, but they won't tell you. Hell man, I can admit it. It's the week of the fight; I don't want to fight no more. You know? [Laughs] It's like all of a sudden, the idea of fighting is very stupid."
Just take what happened in his last fight at UFC 115, for instance. In the process of battering Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic around for the better part of the first round, Barry broke his right hand and right foot. Then he still had to try and survive the next two rounds.
I'm not one of these guys where I'm like, 'Ah, getting punched in the face turns me on!' Not me. I don't like it at all.
Does that sound like anything you'd be looking forward to trying again?
"I don't know about you, but I had to go six, seven weeks wiping my a-- with my left hand. I don't ever want to experience that again. That's impossible," said Barry. "That hurt. It hurt a lot. Pain is not my friend. I'm not one of these guys where I'm like, 'Ah, getting punched in the face turns me on!' Not me. I don't like it at all."
That's not to say he wants to back out. He doesn't. For Barry, this is all quite normal for fight week. It's expected, even. It also not especially important in the end, he said.
"Once you're in there, it's just survival. Like, I could say all this stuff now, but it doesn't matter. I'm walking around and my nose is stuffed up, I think might be coming down with the flu or something. But that's normal pre-fight stuff. I'm not feeling too well, I don't want to eat anything, I'm not hungry.
"Like, I'm leaving to go to Texas, and I'm thinking that really it'd be nice if I had two more weeks," Barry said. "I think that's a feeling that all fighters have at some point in time. Two months ago, I was anxious to go. Now I'm like, ah sh-t. I wish I had a little more time. But it doesn't matter on fight night. No matter what hurts or what doesn't feel right, it's all perfect once you get in there."
That's not to say there aren't some doubts, even for an experienced fighter like Barry. After breaking his hand against Filipovic just seven months ago, he's still a little hesitant to use it to pummel another human being's skull while wearing thinly padded four-ounce gloves.
"I've hit people with it in practice, but to this day I still haven't hit someone with it in small gloves in an actual fight," Barry explained. "You can practice all day, but we don't go all out, hit each other in the head with small gloves. Am I little worried that a part of me will be a little afraid to let it go? Yeah. That's always going to be there, and I can say that. I'm not some tough guy."
It's going to be sniper versus a zombie.
The problem is, after watching film on Beltran he knows he's going to have to hit his opponent early and often on Saturday if he's going to have any hope of winning. With the way Beltran can take a shot, Barry said, he doesn't hold out much hope for an early knockout over "The Mexicutioner."
"He's not the most athletic guy, and he's not the most explosive guy, but what he does do he does really well," said Barry. "And no matter what you hit him with he never falls down. He continually comes forward. I've been saying that he's a zombie. He's a living zombie, just coming forward. It's going to be a sniper versus a zombie."
The question is, after such a painful experience his last time out, will the sniper be able to fire his weapon when he sees an opening? It may not be easy, but then when you're as unflinchingly honest with yourself as Barry is, you know that going in, just like you know from experience that the fears will melt away once the cage door closes.
First though, he has to make it until then. The fight itself may last no more than fifteen minutes, but it's the waiting -- and, for Barry, the thinking -- that's really excruciating.
Pat Barry is the quote master. So many nuggets of glorious MMA wisdom. I *love* this guy.