Tough Words from a Tough Guy:
Phil Baroni Makes His UFC Return
By Loretta Hunt
Native Long Islander Phil Baroni made his Ultimate Fighting Championship premiere at UFC 30 against Curtis Stout. Although he won a unanimous decision, Baroni was unimpressed with the fight. Coming off recent wins at Ken Shamrock’s Megafight I and NAGA’s Battle at the Beach, Phil gets a chance to redeem himself on November 2nd at UFC 34 in Las Vegas. He’s squaring off against Team Quest member and wrestling Olympian Matt Lindland. Phil promises that this time around things will be different. I spoke to Phil about his pending fight.
FCF: How do you feel going into this fight? Any last minute concerns? How’s your shoulder?
PB: No last minute concerns. I feel 100% prepared for this fight. My shoulder is good.
FCF: Are you excited to be fighting in Las Vegas?
PB: Sin City. Sounds like a place for me. I know I’ll have fun hanging out afterwards. It doesn’t matter where I fight, as long as I get to fight.
FCF: Who have you been training with lately? Should we expect to see Team Punishment in your corner?
PB: Yes, Tito Ortiz will be in my corner for this fight for sure. I have been training on the East Coast with a lot of wrestlers. I also went up to Central Michigan University for three weeks to train, and have been preparing down here the last three weeks with some kickboxers.
FCF: You’re facing a world-class wrestler at UFC 34. How does this factor into your training?
PB: It doesn’t factor at all. I’m a world-class wrestler myself and he has to pass through me. I’m the well-rounded mixed martial artist. He’s, as you say, a world-class wrestler. I’m a world-class fighter. Lindland doesn’t factor into my training at all. He better be prepared. What I’ve got, I’m bringing to the table. I hope he’s ready to bring it.
FCF: When you walk down the ramp toward the Octagon, what will be going through your head?
PB: I’m gonna knock this cat out. That’s it. He’s getting knocked out. That’s all I’m thinking about: letting my hands go, putting my punches together, stopping his shots, and making him pay.
FCF: What type of fight should fans expect between you and Lindland?
PB: I’ll be throwing bombs at his head. He’ll try to survive, take me down, or push me up against the fence. I’ll be able to work my way off the fence. He won’t be able to take me down and I’m going to punish him every time he attempts it. Every time he tries to close the distance, he will get hurt.
FCF: Where’s Phil Baroni gonna party after the show?
PB: I’ll start off at the after-party, and wherever the “hot spot” is after that is where I’ll be.
FCF: After UFC 34, what’s next for Phil Baroni?
PB: Hopefully, the world title shot. Tell Dave Menne not to scratch up that belt. Put it in a plastic bag because it ‘s on loan right now. It’s my belt.
FCF: Any final words for the fans out there?
PB: I know the fans have been crying for some action and I’m Mr. Excitement. I’m gonna bring it like I always do. It’s up to Lindland if he wants to fight or go into survival mode, and he’s not going to survive if that’s all he wants to do. There’s going to be a lot of action and it’s going to be non-stop. I might be the most controversial, but I’m also the most dynamic and exciting fighter in MMA today. On November 2nd, I’ll be doing what I do best in the perfect place — Sin City. I’ll be breaking the law.