Barry's submission defense is improving. | Photo:
Barry saw his finish of Christian
Morecraft coming before he landed the crushing blow that
spelled disaster for his opponent.
According to the heavyweight, he noticed an opening in Morecraft’s
defense midway through round one, though the application of that
knowledge would not come to fruition until the opening presented
itself once more.
“Maybe 10 or 12 seconds before I threw the left hook, I saw the
opening, and I went for it,” Barry told Fox Sports following his
victory at UFC on FX 1 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
“Suddenly, Herb Dean was
pulling me off of him. It was everything we hoped for in camp.”
A gifted striker, Barry’s ground game has predictably been his weak
link since transitioning to mixed martial arts, his submission
defense costing him in three of his four career losses. Initially,
it appeared that Barry would once again show his relative
inexperience on Saturday night, but “HD” showed improved skills on
the floor, escaping Morecraft’s top control and submissions.
“In the heat of battle, it’s hard to tell [if a submission is
close], but the armbar was in,” Barry said of Morecraft’s tightest
submission attempt, which he managed to escape after a
Barry nearly attempted a submission of his own, grabbing a
guillotine choke with his back against the cage. However, Barry
admitted later that he strayed from the game plan by considering
the submission finish in the bout’s opening minutes.
“I’m very prone to going for submissions and squeezing with
everything I have. When it doesn’t work, my arms and legs go numb,”
said Barry. “[My coach and I] agreed before the fight that I could
only go for a submission if there were 10 seconds or less before
the end of a round. I had [the guillotine], and I almost started
celebrating. Then I looked over [to my corner] and [my coach] was
shaking his head.”
Barry credits his preparation at Team Death Clutch, with
competitors like former UFC champion Brock
Lesnar and current
Bellator king Cole Konrad,
for his growing poise on the mat.
“I think that was the first time I was the smallest guy in the
room, when I was rolling around with the big guys at Death Clutch.
Wrestling is the most tiring thing in the world,” said Barry. “I
never knew I was claustrophobic until I had these guys lying on top
of me. Now it’s becoming a little more second nature, being on the
ground and [reacting] to being in trouble instead of just
While Barry has faced a considerable list of talent since joining
UFC in 2008, the 32-year-old is most concerned about what lies
ahead as he continues to round out his skills as a mixed martial
“It’s the evolution of the sport. I’m not as bad as people think. I
just haven’t done it a lot. This is like third or fourth time I’ve
done live groundwork [in a fight],” Barry said. “I’m going to throw
heat at anybody, no matter who it is. I fought [Mirko] ‘Cro Cop’
[Filipovic], [Cheick] Kongo and Stefan
Struve. Morecraft was a bigger fight to me than all of those,
because every fight is the next big fight.”