Former UFC Heavyweight Pat Barry is set to make his GLORY Kickboxing debut this Saturday night against Zack Mwekassa in a reserve bout for the heavyweight contender tournament at GLORY 16.
After losing to Soa Palelei in the UFC back in December, Barry decided it was time to hang up the 4 ounce gloves and go back into kickboxing full time. With GLORY aiding kickboxing to achieve levels of popularity unseen before in North America, now is the perfect time for Barry to debut.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Pat to discuss a wide range of topics including his GLORY debut, his departure from the UFC, his career highlights, Rose Namajunas and TUF 20, and much more. This will be the second of a three part series with Pat Barry focusing on MMA and leaving the UFC. If you missed yesterday’s piece, which focused on his GLORY debut this weekend, check it out here.
Did you ever get the feeling that the UFC was going to cut you prior to your departure?
The UFC has always been great to me. They always enjoyed me being there. They didn’t say anything in particular, but of course you never know. You can get cut at any point in time. I never focused on that, I never thought ‘the UFC is going to fire me after this fight’. There was no need for that unnecessary pressure on myself. I always knew that if I went in and did what I was capable of doing, I could not imagine someone not finding that appealing or exciting.
His thoughts on his popularity as a fighter
The reason why I know [I am a popular fighter] is because I am also a fight fan. Because I am a fan of the sport myself, I know what it is that I would like to see. I just so happen to have a style- what I bring to the table- that I like to see in combat sports.
Returning to MMA?
I am not against it. I have just always wanted to do kickboxing and I am getting a chance to do it again. I am not thinking ‘I am going to have a fight here or there and then go back to MMA’. As of right now, kickboxing is my sole purpose and focus.
Am I against MMA? Not at all. Am I interested in going back? Sure. Maybe one day I will go back. Who knows? I would have never guessed in a million years that I would have even started MMA.
The point is that anything is possible. I could wake up tomorrow and decide that I don’t want to do kickboxing anymore. I could wake up and decide to return to MMA. I could decide to go back and deliver pizza if I really wanted to. The reality is that I can’t say I would never ever return, but truthfully I am not thinking about it.
His advice to his girlfriend, Rose Namajunas, who will be on TUF 20
The only consistent advice that I tell Rose since we met, knowing what kind of animal and competitor she is, is just be yourself and no one can stop you. Don’t be somebody else. Don’t go on the show and be a character. Don’t be the loner, the shy one who is a killer, just go on the show and be Rose. If you fight as Rose and you act just as Rose, then you are a star and I have noticed it since day one.
Having no contact with Rose while she is on the show
You know what? It is really going to suck. It is going to be the longest time we have been away from each other since we met. This isn’t going to be like going on a vacation to Lithiuania and we can still talk to each other without seeing each other. This is six weeks of no contact, six weeks of I don’t know. I would hope that if she gets hit by a bus they would give me a phone call, but I don’t know. They keep everything quiet to avoid spoilers. I don’t think this is anything I can prepare for, and it is going to suck. At the same time, it will be great for her.
Reliving the Cheick Kongo fight
Who should you bet on to win a fight between Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo? Most likely Cheick Kongo and everybody who bet on him, I guarantee they were passing out and fainting- ‘Oh this is horrible, I lost everything’- and then all of the sudden I was out and it was over. What about the people who bet on me? ‘Yes! I am going to win! I can retire now because I am rich!’ and boom, it was gone just like that.
That fight has got to be- if not the greatest comeback ever and most bizarre fight of all time- top three of the ‘Oh wow! Who saw that coming?’ type of fights. Nobody saw that coming. Not even me. Three days after the fight I still thought I won.
His greatest career moment/remembering what is important
That is a tough question. It could be anything really. I have had so many amazing fights. I have taught seminars where you see that you have had some type of influence on somebody, and that is special. I have had fights that people remember, that I sometimes don’t even remember.
When I fought Cro Cop, I broke my right hand and foot plus I had a hairline fracture on my left shin in the first three minutes of round 1. I still fought the next 12 minutes with one hand and never gave up, never quit, and never backed down. I was still pushing forward and he choked me out in the last 27 seconds. He choked me out in order to win. That was cool, because I had never been in danger like that in a fight.
Still to this day, after all the kickboxing and MMA matches I have had, I have never gotten washed by somebody. I have lost, but never has there been no chance of me winning a fight. I have had suprising losses, but I always fight hard. Two of my best performances were losses in MMA.
In kickboxing, the fact that I was even thought of to be put in the ring against Gary Goodridge was an honor. These things are all amazing moments and make this such a hard question. I have a personal victory every day I wake up and decide to go to practice. That is the hardest part.
My favorite moments in this game are truly when I can affect someone positively. The guy that says he lost 200 pounds after watching me and got motivated to get off his ass. I had a guy say to me one time that he was about to jump off a bridge, but you walked by shook my hand and said have a nice day which gave me the reason to keep on going in life. That is the stuff that I work for.