Yoshiyuki Yoshida and Phil Baroni (photo by Shafudin Jaya)

Phil Baroni has competed in virtually every major mixed martial arts promotion on the planet. On Saturday, he’ll add One Fighting Championship to his laundry list of former employers.

“The New York Bad Ass” returns to the welterweight division to take on seasoned Japanese fighter Yoshiyuki Yoshida at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.

Although, you never know what you’re going to get when a new promotion holds their inaugural event, Baroni is optimistic about the promotion’s future and its potential.

“All the dealings have been really good,” Baroni recently told MMAWeekly Radio. “It’s their first big show with their big brand and they’ve got some money backing them. I mean, it’s no UFC and they don’t have Fox, but it’s pretty big. It’s in 600 million homes and I think it’s going to be huge. It’s going to be a great promotion and a good option for guys.”

The decision to move back to the 170-pound division was a natural progression for Baroni, who used to be a bulked up middleweight with excess muscle mass. After lifestyle changes and better training habits, Baroni feels welterweight is where he’s going to revive his career.

“I think I’m older and my body changed and I’m not as big as I used to be,” he said. “I think I’m better suited right now at 170.

Phil Baroni at Pride Bushido 8

Phil Baroni showing it off in Japan at Pride Bushido 8

“I think the answer to why I’m not a big 185-pounder anymore is when you’re training hard all the time and when you’re not lifting weights, the weight comes off.

“When I think about it, I see guys like Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck here at American Kickboxing Academy and guys in Vegas like Jay Hieron and Randy Couture; those guys are 365 days a year training,” added Baroni.

“Guys like me and Rampage (Quinton Jackson), and I’m not sure now, but Tito back in the day, we would do our eight week camps. In between fights, we’d kind of indulge and I’ve been pretty bad at indulging. You hear stories about all the guys, but I think that’s the difference and I think it’s going to be a new career and I hope to start it on this One FC.”

Baroni is excited to face an opponent with the name recognition and reputation of Yoshida in his return to the welterweight division.

“I think he’s tough, “said Baroni. “He’s best known for getting beat by Koscheck and Anthony Johnson, but those guys beat like 95-percent of guys and they do it by knockout. Those are real tough guys. They’re the top of the food chain at the weight class.

“I think this fight will show where I belong,” he continued. “He’s beat some good guys. He’s definitely a tough fighter, so I think it’s going to show where I belong at the 170-pound weight class. At least it will show where I’m capable of being. It won’t mean anything. It’s one win, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

The 35-year old fighter is eager to compete under the rules instituted by One FC. He’ll have more weapons at his disposal than the unified rules allow, but short of the early days of no holds barred fighting that some of us were lucky enough to witness in the first few UFC events.

“I’m going there to fight. It happens to be my kind of fight, which is basically no rules, no rules in the cage. It sounds like a good fight,” he said.

One FC uses a combination of the unified rules used in the UFC and the rules formerly used by the Pride Fighting Championships. The fights will take place in a cage and combatants will be allowed to employ soccer kicks, head stomps, and the use of elbows standing and on the ground.

The event will broadcast in 24 Asian countries on ESPN Star Sports and stream live on Sherdog.com.

Follow @JeffMMAWeekly on Twitter or e-mail Jeff Cain.
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