The Mouth of MMA

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with the NY Badass, Phil Baroni

Posted by Mark Figula on March 24, 2011 at 1:10 PM
By Mark Figula, The Mouth of MMA Senior Editor

Following on the heels of our interview with another "old school" UFC fighter, Royce Gracie, we spoke to one who has been around since UFC 30.  Although he's not reached the levels of success that put him in the hall of fame category, The NY Badass, Phil Baroni  isn't anywhere near hanging it up.  Speaking with him, he seems humble, understanding of the training needs in today's game, and hungry to climb back into the mix.

Mark Figula for The Mouth of MMA: As one of the guys who has been there from the early days, back at UFC 30, how much do you see MMA has evolved since then?

Phil Baroni: Its pretty crazy the growth. I never imagined, but at the same time I knew. I thought it could, should, and would take off once it was legalized and regulated. But, to see where it is today... It's crazy. I just want to be a part of it now.

Mark Figula: How different is the UFC as an organization since UFC 30?

Phil Baroni: It's huge now. It's big business. I knew everyone personally back then. It was kinda family ZUFFA back in the old days. Today it's a machine. But I still see some familiar faces and when I was back in the octagon I felt like I was finally home.

"It's huge now. It's big business...  Today it's a machine."

Mark Figula: Do you feel the UFC disposes of fighters too easily or quickly? Would they be well served to have a sort of "minor leagues" type of sub- organization or do the other ones out there almost serve that purpose for them in your eyes?

Phil Baroni: I cant make that call. Its not my business or my model. In the UFC winning takes care of everything. Win and you keep your job. It's that simple.

Mark Figula: You have also been able to fight in quite a few name organizations. Which do you think was best organized of them?

Phil Baroni: PRIDE was run well and Strike Force was very good.

Mark Figula: Looking forward in your own career, what do you think the path back to a belt is for you?

Phil Baroni: To keep training, dedicate my life to this game,and improve. Put it all together and just fight. Not think forget about pressure, have fun and fight.

Mark Figula: I see you talking about strength training quite a bit on your site. What aspects of your MMA skills do you feel need the most improvement to reach your goals?

Phil Baroni: I just need to be well rounded and put it together better. Mix it up and not be so predictable. Strength and conditioning help a lot as well. It all goes back to training consistently.

Mark Figula: If there was one thing you could go back and redo in your career, what would it be?

Phil Baroni: I would have fought differently, said different things at times, and trained year-round. Lived it. Trained to improve and grow. Not just prep for a fight. I would have focused more on ground and putting it all together and relied on my wrestling more than my boxing.

Mark Figula: Do you feel that a fighter has to be in one of the big camps (AKA, ATT, Jackson, et. al) to reach the top levels of the sport now?

Phil Baroni: Right now it seems that way. And that's why I train at AKA.

Mark Figula: If you were able to be any weight on command and take a fight with any fighter in any weight class, who would you most like to get a crack at?

Phil Baroni: Right now that's Jon Jones, Anderson or GSP. Even Cain all the Champs right now are huge stars and super talented. I guess that's why they're the champs.

"...all the Champs right now are huge stars and super talented. I guess that's why they're the champs."

Mark Figula: Which fighter do you like to watch as a fan of MMA?

Phil Baroni: Fedor, Overeem and Cain. They're all exciting and fight for the finish. They are fun to watch.


Mark "The Ezequiel" Figula is the biggest wuss to ever enter a cage... the most spindly chickenass dude to ever tap out at NAGA... the boy who was told that the pen is mightier than the sword... and thus he writes. Check out his home page of scribblings at


Categories: Features, Interviews

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