I'm such a big fan of this guy. He's just such a fan of the sport and you can tell he is really just a big kid at heart. The constant video game references were cracking me up. I'm very interested to see him weight in a 250 as he eludes to in the interview... to my knowledge, the most he's weighed in is around 240.
Sherdog.com: Do you remember the first fight that you were ever in and what happened?
Barry: I fought a guy named David Rochon down in New Orleans, my very first match. Out of all the fights I ever had, that had to absolutely be one of the weirdest experiences ever. I got in the ring, and I hit the guy in the stomach and he hunched over. And when he hunched over, I actually put my hand on his back and asked him if he was OK. And he [proceeded to] uppercut me in the face. So I hit him in the stomach again, boom, and he hunches back over. And I say, “Look man, I’m just trying to see if you’re OK.” And he, like, puts his hand up and smacks me again. And I was, like, “What are you doing?” I hit him in the stomach like two or three more times, and I kept saying, like I was having like a fit, saying “I’m just trying to see if you’re alright!” in the middle of a fight. That was an amateur kickboxing match, my very first kickboxing match ever.
Sherdog.com: Is your instinct still to check on an injured opponent?
Barry: I’ve done that a lot. This is also my weakness. I’m not a bloodthirsty animal. I’ve hit guys, and this is bad for me, but I’ve hit some guys with some real stiff shots and not followed it up. Like -- boom -- then kind of like look at them to see if they’re OK. Not OK, but if they’re dazed enough that the ref would stop the fight, versus some guy being unconscious, and, while he’s unconscious, me hit him six more times before the ref gets to him. That’s also bad because I’ve had guys in really bad situations where if I was to just bump into them a little, I’d finish the fight, and guys have gone from dazed to woken up. If you remember the Tim Hague fight [at UFC 98], when he stumbled back, he was out. He was like dazed. All I had to do was just touch him, but instead I backed up and looked at him. So by the time I got back to him, he was back awake again.
Sherdog.com: But you came on in the Antoni Hardonk fight at UFC 104 really strong. There was a definite streak to finish in that fight.
Barry: Well, right. But even in that fight, if you watch that last hit that hits him on the head, when he’s on the ground, I punch him and I go to hit him again and I stop. What if [referee] Josh Rosenthal would not have stepped in? Then that was my opportunity to finish the fight, and I didn’t. But like I said, I’m pretty good at telling when the fight’s over and when it’s not. It’s something that could be changed. I don’t hate anybody I fight. I’m not angry at anyone that I compete against. I need them just as much as they need me. We have to feed off of each other. If we don’t have fighters out there, then I don’t work. I think that there’s a classy way, and I get a lot of flack about this, there’s a classy way to be a good sportsman versus just being a brute. I’ve never been in a street fight, man. I’m about to be 31. I’ve never been in a street fight, not even at recess in fourth grade, never. Of course everybody in the world gets mad at somebody eventually, but I’m not a fighter. I play the game really well, but I’m not an angry dude at all.
Barry is a fan of Cro Cop.Sherdog.com: How did you get into fighting then?
Barry: To me, this is a real live video game. Like this is “Street Fighter” live action; it’s just a fun game. I’ve always wanted to be a ninja, so I get to be a real live ninja in life. For the most part, this is a real, live game. I’m not an angry dude. I don’t have to walk around and snarling and growling. And of course fighters have a very bad reputation. We’re drug abusers, alcoholics, illegitimate children. We smack women around. We get in street fights all the time. We’re angry dudes who can’t read. That’s just not what it’s like nowadays. We’re really civilized people. We just play the game really well.
Sherdog.com: What do you mean by always wanting to be a ninja?
Barry: You know, roam the earth and defend the weak and solve crime and just, like, hide in the shadows and have little secrets. Ever since I was a kid, I never idolized samurais. One guy with a sword versus 75 men on me with guns, and the samurai never turns his back? No, I was the ninja who you never saw coming, who shot you in the neck with an arrow from 200 yards away. I was like a sniper, you know, a ninja, like, in the shadows. You never knew. Very unsuspecting. That’s something that I’ve told everyone from day one. Don’t ever count me out. One, you never know what’s going to happen. Two, you never know what’s coming. I’ve got a very nice demeanor. I’m a good guy. I love this sport. I love the game, but the whole “don’t take anyone’s kindness for weakness thing,” it’s true. I’m terrified when I get in the ring, of course. That’s my strength, is fear against the guys I’m competing against. But you can’t sleep on me. I’m very good at what I do.
Sherdog.com: I remember hearing a quote from you that at one point Cro Cop was on your top five guys you did not want to ever fight. Who was one, two, three, four?
Barry: Sagat from Street Fighter, Mike Tyson, Ernesto Hoost, Jerome LeBanner, Mirko Cro Cop. I actually, like, had a list. At one point, I wrote it down. I was sitting in a class one day. My brother and I, before I started competing, we would watch K-1 fights and kickboxing matches all the time before I’d even started training. I was a secret ninja in my head, but I already knew these guys beforehand. I’d been following their careers already. I was, like, these are the scariest dudes in the world. Cro Cop was just an emotionless monster, and he was very unsuspecting. He didn’t look the part, being the smaller of all the guys. He would kill you, man, like, emotionlessly kill you.
Sherdog.com: Hearing you describe Cro Cop and your fear of competing, you must be scared s--tless going into UFC 115.
Barry: In all actuality, I wake up every day and ask myself, “What the hell am I doing this for? This is stupid. This guy’s going to try to kick me in the face. Why would anyone ever put their hand in the fireplace on purpose?” I said yes [to fighting Cro Cop] without even thinking about it. [They said], “You wanna fight Cro Cop?” I was. like, “Hell yeah, I want to fight Cro Cop.” As soon as I got off the phone, I was, like, “Oh, s--t. Oh, damn. OK.” But, have you ever played “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out?” Did you ever turn that game on with no intentions of ending it? I never quit Tyson’s Punch Out. I used to sit up 24 hours a day, night after night, day after day, nonstop, just playing Tyson’s Punch Out nonstop, just trying to get to the end and finish it. You want to fight Tyson at the end. You don’t want to get all the way to Piston Honda and say, “No more,” Bald Bull and say, “I beat Bald Bull. I’m finished. I don’t want to play this no more.” No, you want to get to the best. You want to fight the best.
When they said, “Do you want to fight Cro Cop?” that’s like a warp zone from “Super Mario [Brothers].” I can skip levels two, three and four? I can go straight to five? What? I have three undercard fights: Dan Evensen, Tim Hague, Antoni Hardonk. Now I get to fight Cro Cop? That’s not in the chronological order. Now, I’m not taking anything away from the first three guys, but it just doesn’t seem like Dan Evensen, Tim Hague and Antoni Hardonk … Cro Cop doesn’t seem like the next step. Cro Cop seems like a warp, like I’ve jumped eight levels. In my eyes, that’s damn near the top. It’s not the top, but that’s near the top, in my eyes, being a kid, being a fan of the sport. He wasn’t my favorite in kickboxing, but when he came to MMA, he was my favorite guy ever in MMA. I’ve always wanted to just meet the guy.
Now, not only do I get to meet him and like touch his hand and shake his hand and hopefully get a picture with him, I get to hopefully not get kicked in the face by him. How awesome is that?
Sherdog.com: Did or do you see weaknesses in someone you admired and feared so much?
Barry: Everybody’s got holes; everybody’s got weaknesses. I see a hole or two in Cro Cop. Even back in his kickboxing days, in his early Pride days, I’ve seen one or two holes. There aren’t many, but I’ve seen a few, and I’m hoping to capitalize on them.
Sherdog.com: How do you reconcile that with being afraid to fight?
Barry: I’ll be honest. I’m the first one who’s hoping the power goes out in the building and we don’t have to do this. But the best comparison I can give is a roller coaster. When you’re a kid, you get on a roller coaster, you sit there and, once you’re on, you start going up that hill for that big drop. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t get out of it. It’s the most terrifying thing ever. It’s the craziest feeling of all time, and then it goes down that first drop. It’s the scariest thing that ever happened in your life, and, once you finish the first drop and realize you’re still alive, it turns into the greatest experience of your life.
Sherdog.com: After you collected $120,000 in bonuses for “Fight of the Night” and “Knockout of the Night” against Hardonk at UFC 104 in October, you talked in interviews about how it helped you get out of a financial bind. Is this money gone yet?
Barry: The money was almost gone as soon as it was given to me because of the eight years that I’ve been pursuing the dream and digging myself into a financial hole. Every year, it would get a little bit harder, a little bit deeper. That paid off a tremendous amount of debt. That paid off eight years of pursuing the dream, of being on the grind, of not knowing where the next dollar’s coming from. That paid that hole off. There was some left over. I was able to put away for taxes and a very small retirement plan. I definitely don’t want to be punching and kicking for the rest of my life. The reason I’ve done that is by watching all these guys who have been on top of the world an end up with nothing. Been on top of the world, five cars, giant houses, and the next thing you know, they’re fighting at some small show for $2,000.
Sherdog.com: You said before the UFC paydays you were on a steady, stingy diet of rice and ketchup. What’s Pat Barry eating these days?
Barry: McDonald’s. I’m a heavyweight, man, so I eat everything. I’m not into clothes or cars or nothing like that. It all goes to eating. I eat. I eat a lot, all the time.
Sherdog.com: So what do you get on a typical trip to the drive-thru?
Barry: Six barbecue snack wrappers and maybe two ranch, or maybe two honey mustard. No drink. Then I’ll circle back around and eat an ice cream cone. I’m not opposed to eating fast food at all. I eat pizza regularly. As a matter of fact, I ate an entire tray of Bagel Bites last night. Last night, like two in the morning, I woke up and it was Bagel Bites, a box of them.
When I fought Antoni Hardonk, when we got to California and they gave me the per diem, I went to California Pizza Kitchen twice a day every day until the fight. Now, eating spinach and broccoli and water might make me physically the greatest, physically looking appealing, in the most physical shape possible, but I’m totally miserable. So it doesn’t matter how in shape I am. I can’t function. Eating the way that I want to, I might not be the prettiest thing to look at and I might not be the most in-shape person ever, but I’m completely happy. And there’s nothing more efficient than a happy fighter. That’s words from Mike Tyson himself.
Sherdog.com: With that said, I guess light heavyweight is never a possibility for you?
Barry: Everybody thinks I’m too small for heavyweight, right? I’m 256 right now. I’ll come in at 250, and that’s only because I’m going to throw up six pounds the morning of the weigh-ins. They’re looking at my height. They hear 5-11, 240, and they go, “You’re too short.” I’m too small for heavyweight at 5-11, 240, yet Stefan Struve at one point in time was 6-1, 215 pounds, but nobody think he’s too small. I’m heavier than Cro Cop. I’m heavier than Cain Velasquez, and I’m an inch shorter than him. I’m too small because no one’s seen my legs because the shorts are too long. I’m all legs.
Sherdog.com: What Cro Cop performance do you think tells us the most about him?
Barry: His last performance against Perosh. He didn’t give an “A” game on a guy who took the fight on one-day notice. That showed that he is human. Cro Cop didn’t try to go an end that guy at all.
Sherdog.com: That sounds a lot like you versus Dave Rochon in your first fight.
Barry: I saw a lot of myself in that. That is part of what gave me a good feeling about the fight. I learn from my mistakes. I’ve grown a lot.