Phil Baroni | James Meinhardt/Sherdog.com


Sometimes an injury can be the best thing to happen to a fighter.

UFC middleweight Phil Baroni was scheduled to take on John Salter at UFC 118 in August, but he was forced off the show when he injured his collarbone in the lead-up to the bout. Now, as he prepares to take on Brad Tavares at UFC 125 on Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Baroni says it was best for him not to have fought Salter.

“I look back at the fighter that I was, and getting injured was a blessing in disguise,” said Baroni. “Getting hurt has allowed me to have a long camp, and I needed it because I was rusty and not in the best shape. I’ve been training at [the American Kickboxing Academy], and by the time the fight gets here, I’ll have been at AKA for three months.

“I’ve been training with a lot of guys who have been getting ready for their own big fights,” he added. “It’s been a great atmosphere to be in, and [AKA head trainer] Javier Mendez has stepped in and been helping me. That makes me feel good because you know he only helps the top guys.”

Baroni, who fought under the Hammer House banner for much of his career, believes the decision to make the move to AKA has been beneficial for him.

“My training camp has been going great,” said the 34-year old Baroni, who has lost two straight fights and owns a 3-5 mark in his last eight appearances dating back to June 2007. “I’ve surprised myself with my conditioning getting ready for this fight, so I’m definitely going to be ready.”

Baroni, who has not fought since a unanimous decision defeat at the hands of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah at UFC 106 in November 2009, has a lot of respect for Tavares, a semi-finalist on Season 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“He is the toughest guy I’ve fought since I was in Pride,” said Baroni, who has notable wins over Yosuke Nishijima, Yuki Kondo, Ryo Chonan, Dave Menne and Ikuhisa Minowa on his resume. “If I can beat this guy, I feel like I can still be competitive at the UFC level. If I get a win here, I think it will show the UFC brass I can be a contender at 185.”

Fighting since 2000, Baroni has tested his skills against Joe Riggs, Joey Villasenor, Frank Shamrock, Kazuo Misaki, the late Evan Tanner and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland during his career. He knows he is being viewed as a stepping stone for the unbeaten Tavares, a veteran of the X-1 promotion in Hawaii who has finished five of his six opponents, four of them inside the first round.

“I’ve watched a lot of tape of [Tavares],” Baroni said. “He comes to fight, and our fight definitely needs to be [on a Spike TV prelims special prior to the pay-per-view]. He’s a good fighter and will be a good challenge for me.”

Baroni knows a second straight setback in the Octagon -- and a third loss in a row overall -- would probably lead to his being released by the UFC. Fans, he said, can expect to see a fired-up “New York Bad Ass” come fight time.

“Without a doubt, my job is on the line with this fight,” said Baroni, “but it’s been on the line since I was first in the UFC back in 2003-2004, and I’m still here. I’m at my best when the pressure’s on. If there’s no pressure, then there’s no diamonds. I like having that pressure on me, and I’m happy to fight a guy like [Tavares]. That way, if I win, I’ll be making a statement.”

If Baroni gets past Tavares, he hopes for a quick turnaround and a fight closer to his Long Island, N.Y., roots.

“I have to get through [Tavares], and he’s a tough opponent,” Baroni said, “but if I win and come out of it without any injuries, I want to fight [at UFC 128 in Newark, N.J., in March].”

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Conor McGregor Would Demand Even Money to Make Floyd Mayweather Fight Happen

  • 29 days ago
  • 41 views

Conor McGregor's coach says that his fighter would demand even money to make a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather happen. read news >>

Injury to Linton Vassell Causes Bellator 158 Main Card Shift

  • 21 days ago
  • 11 views

An injury to Linton Vassell has derailed his summer plans of competing in front of his fellow Englishmen against Francis Carmont at Bellator 158: London. read news >>

Cain Velasquez Talks Training Differently to Avoid Injury (UFC 200 Video)

  • 20 days ago
  • 5 views

Cain Velasquez fields questions from the press before his upcoming UFC 200 fight against Travis Browne at Wednesday's pre-fight press conference. read news >>

Demetrious Johnson Withdraws from Fight with Wilson Reis at UFC 201 with Injury

  • 18 days ago
  • 10 views

Demetrious Johnson has reportedly been forced to withdraw from his title fight against Wilson Reis at UFC 201 due to an injury, according to MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani. The two were scheduled to co read news >>

Injury Removes Demetrious Johnson vs. Wilson Reis from UFC 201

  • 18 days ago
  • 10 views

An undisclosed injury to Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson has forced his next title defense off of the UFC 201 fight card. read news >>

Dana White: Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo 2 Will Happen After UFC 202

  • 17 days ago
  • 94 views

Jose Aldo has to feel good coming out of UFC 200. He scored a key win over an elite-level opponent in Frankie Edgar, convinced the world (and, probably, himself) that he is still a pound-for-pound-ca read news >>

Brock Lesnar Flagged for Anti-Doping Violation in Pre-UFC 200 Drug Test

  • 11 days ago
  • 147 views

Former UFC heavyweight champion and current WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar has been flagged by USADA for a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation. read news >>

Bleacher Report MMA Rankings for July 2016

  • 10 days ago
  • 59 views

So...crazy month for MMA and the UFC, huh? Big fights happened, big fights didn't happen and a half-dozen big events have come and gone. In the month since the last installment of the Bleacher Report read news >>

Cyborg Santos Injury: Updates on MMA Fighter's Head and Recovery

  • 9 days ago
  • 466 views

Cristiane Justino, ex-wife of Evangelista Santos, revealed the 38-year-old mixed martial arts fighter suffered a gruesome head injury in his defeat Saturday to Michael Page at Bellator 158. Justino p read news >>

Ronda vs. Cyborg Re-Emerges As MMA's Top Rivalry, But Will It Ever Happen?

  • 9 hours ago
  • 1 views

The matchup is perfect, almost to the point of being theoretical. It’s like one of those CGI-based competition shows you’d catch on the Discovery Channel. What happens when you take two apex predator read news >>