Ep. #104 – Bryan Barberena

Bryan Barberena is a mixed martial artist who competes in the Welterweight division of the UFC. The fighter out of Gym-O in North Carolina has picked up a 15-7 record including 10 (T)KO finishes along with 2 submissions.


Bryan Barberena: Boom, we are back with episode 104 of the quarantine cast um. I’M really excited for this one, i’m having another jimmo product uh coming on here. It’S welterweight uh brian barbarina uh. He competes in the ufc. He had a very successful return to the octagon about a month ago. I think september 12th, where he won uh via comfortable decision um returning from a long layoff due to some back problems and without further ado. I’D like to have him on i’ve been a fan for a long time, so i’m really excited for this one: hey man how’s it going hey. It’S going great man thanks for having me on looking forward to talking with you so uh. First things. First man, how are you doing? I mean everything going on in the world with covid and and the election it seems like the world’s going crazy. So how are you doing? How are you holding up yeah? You know i’m doing good uh trying to be as safe as possible, especially covet safe, especially just to make sure i can make it a fight. You know just in case i get a short notice call or anything. I want to make sure that you know i’m not going to be testing positive and then get pulled out of the fight after you know, putting in all this time and everything trying to get a fight so staying real, safe family’s good staying busy on the farm And yeah, i’m good can’t complain yeah. That seems to be the theme right now guys pulling out and last minute replacements and uh as someone who’s after your last fight said, you wanted to stay busy. It’S probably good that you’re out there staying safe, uh and everything yeah. You know i’m trying to trying to stay active uh. I haven’t been able to get a fight as fast as i would have liked, so just kind of staying, ready and just in case i get a call. I can go ahead and step in. I want to talk about your last performance. It looked very, very, very dominant uh, very, very impressive um, so how did it feel getting back in there after such a long layoff? I know there were some injuries and stuff like that, so how’d it feel to get back in there and get your hand raised. Uh, it felt amazing man, you know i put in uh, you know i’ve gone through a lot with the surgery and the layoff and then working back to getting back there. A lot of support for my family from my team uh did a lot of a lot of work with you know on the outside and that people don’t see and everything so uh man it was. It was amazing. I felt the feeling was unmatchable like just to get my hand raised and and be back in the win column. Two was great um, you know it was a great fight and you know i honestly, you know i would have liked to go in there and get the finish. But you know, i think a three-round fight was uh to show that you know i’m back and healed up and feeling good uh. It was the perfect showing for me to come back to. Did you feel any added pressure? I mean you were on a two-fight losing streak um such a long layoff. I’M sure there was thoughts of you know if i lose three in a row that doesn’t look good in the eyes of the ufc, especially in a division like the welterweight division, where there’s 150 fighters did you feel that extra pressure uh you know i didn’t? I didn’t feel any extra extra pressure at all uh. You know i felt to me i felt like my last fights. You know, i’m always exciting. I always put on good fights. At least i feel like i do fans like to watch, and so i felt with my last two. You know i fought some of the divisions. Toughest uh, definitely luke 8 being right up there, one of the top in the division. Randy brown coming up to one of the you know top guys, so you know i wasn’t really worried about it. I mean. Obviously your job is never safe. So there’s that, but you know i just felt like i didn’t really have anything to worry about. All i needed to worry about was just getting in there and uh beating ivy and not letting them beat me. So how did your? How did your back feel both in the lead up to the fight, as well as during the fight uh? You know after surgery. You know it was slow and steady and had to wait quite a while to begin even physical therapy and begin. You know training after that um. So there was, you know some bumps and some you know slow times that you know in the beginning, but once i got back into training and was going uh, you know my back felt better than ever and you know once we we took a little bit of Time to kind of test it test the waters a little bit and take step in slow, but once it was like feeling good, it was just like all right open the floodgates. Let’S get going, you know and doing things and training that i haven’t been able to do in a long time, and so it really felt good and then going into the fight man. I had no issues my back felt better than ever. I didn’t even you know in my mind, it was like there was no worry at all. I never even thought about my back. It was just go in there and, let’s fight, and you know, i’ve been itching to fight again and the feeling to get in there and just going. I don’t believe in ring rust. You know i i test myself in the gym every single day. I go against killers in there who push me and you know try to break me. So i don’t believe in that i’m ready to go as soon as as soon as i step in there. So yeah you talked about uh the killers that you’re in there with every day. I spoke with one of those killers just the other day and implicants kasanga, and i what does it mean to have guys like impa and joe salecki, scott holtzman, those guys around you day in and day out, and how much of a role did they play and Not just your physical recovery, but also mental recovery. When you were dealing with your back injury, you know it was huge uh, you know, those guys are all great and they’re. You know definitely strong in different areas and well-rounded, and you know can push me every day. You know you mentioned scott ampa, solecki uh john salter is another one that i work with. He comes out and travels from wilmington into to help me out too and he’s a bellator. You know right up there for a title contention. So um. You know i work with some great people who push me every day and you know during recovery and everything on my way back. You know i have info texting me, scott, texted me and uh. You know making sure checking in on me. My coaches texting me. My friends from out here who work with what i work with and stuff they’re just you know it was the support around my team and everything was, you know, definitely helped as far as my comeback and working with me and making sure that you know i’m keeping My mind in check and keeping everything and doing the things i’m supposed to be doing um. You know they’re they’re best, definitely keeping me in check and then you know, scott holtzman was a huge thing. You know we both live in knoxville tennessee. So when i started working out and everything uh, you know i started working out with him and doing the workouts with him and he was making sure that you know i wasn’t pushing too much to strain myself and really pulling me back and you know making sure I’M going slow enough to ease into it and not hurt myself again. Whoa sorry, um speak speaking on impa, i mean. Obviously his last performance didn’t go his way as as a friend and as a teammate. What sorts of advice do you give someone after they? They suffer defeat like that, like it wasn’t just the loss, it was also you know in the public eye. You know it must be a little bit humiliating um to to know it’s on like sports center and all this stuff. But as a friend, what advice do you give to uh to someone like that? You know stay positive, uh, that’s the biggest thing. You know, he’s he’s a great athlete he’s a great fighter. You know he’s gon na do great things this this one. This one fight, isn’t gon na, you know say who he is and put it in stone. You know he’s gon na do great things and move on from this and um. You know we just get back on it. You know it was a freak thing. That was a crazy kick. You know he agrees too uh so, but do we agree that he, you know, he’s better and everything he can keep pushing forward. He’S gon na do great things. Absolutely so just stay positive. You know keep your nose on the grindstone and keep moving forward um. You know this is just the beginning, a little bump in the road we don’t know. We know how to bounce back from those. What was the whole experience like going there with him and experiencing that whole thing i could see if you were being there for quite a long time or whatever it might get boring or or something like that like just because it’s you know, there’s not a ton To do but there’s enough to do for fight week and stuff, and you know obviously you’re getting the greatest opportunity to be able to fight during a time like this. You know dana white really did you know outdid himself and was able to shut the island down, and you know no one has access to you or anything like that. So um man, it’s it’s really just a blessing and it’s it’s an awesome experience. I can. I can’t even imagine how much cooler it would be um with you, know, fans being able to be there and everything that place would be hopping, but right now it’s it’s awesome. During the circumstances and everything it’s it’s really cool. As someone, i think, you’ve competed in brazil once in canada once but as someone who’s primarily competed in north america. What would the experience like to be uh to travel there for a fight? Oh to abu, dhabi? Yeah? It’S uh! It’S awesome! It’S it’s! A long flight! Uh, i definitely recommend like for me. I was gon na pick up a short notice, fight and uh. I was just going to. You know, stay there yeah, so it was like uh. I was gon na stay there and you know get do the do my flight. There, because to travel, it’s 15 hours, 15 hour flight, sorry 15 hour flight. There you know to do a 15 hour flight back and you have to quarantine again in vegas and everything like it’d be a lot so um, but the truck. To be honest, that was the nicest flight i’ve ever been on. I got a whole road to myself as a fight as the fighter you get uh you get to sit in first class. You know get to lay down the food on the flight was amazing. It’S the best uh airline food. I’Ve ever had so i mean to be honest, you’re flying in luxury but uh to do a 15 hour flight there and a 15 hour flight back and then fly back. If you got a call, would suck yeah yeah absolutely i want to ask about another potential fight. I mean. I know it’s somewhere down the road. It’S not realistic right now, but with hispanic heritage month. What would it mean to you to potentially compete in a colombia or or even even, if it’s not columbus, colombia like a uruguay or in argentina uh? You know that would be huge. A while back after my warley alves fight um, i went on a tour like a media tour for uh the ufc and went to mexico and went to columbia uh just to talk to the media out there and kind of promote. You know the ufc and mma in general um. You know because out in colombia at the time it wasn’t. You know really uh accepted very much so um, but i would love to fight on a columbia card. I would love to headline a columbia card. I would love to just you know, be the headline for a columbian card in columbia and being able to really show out for my fans and for my family out there. So they can come to the show. It would be huge, and even even if it’s close to columbia, you know – i know my family in colombia would travel to a close. You know south of place in south america um any country in south america would be amazing and i’d love to be a part of it. I want to take a trip. I want to take a trip down memory lane here um i spoke to eric anders and a couple other guys who played football growing up. What is the biggest lesson that you took from your footballing days that you can still apply to mma, both mentally and physically uh mentally? I think he is. You know the just the grind in the push the mindset of just you know, keep pushing through that through everything you know. Um there was times where you know i got hurt, not you know terribly bad where i broke anything or whatever, but i was injured in football and just kept pushing forward. You know kept going and making it through the game that you know it’s not. At least that’s my mindset, that’s the mindset i got from football was just to keep pushing and get through it and let’s get the game, you know, let’s get through the game and win the game and do all you can to help your you know your team And everything um physically, you know it’s constantly trying to improve trying to trying to get better. You know i didn’t. I didn’t play football when i was young, i started when i was in high school, so uh i felt as if maybe i’d have to catch up to some of the people who were playing uh all their lives, and you know i did all i could in My off like before that to prepare myself, but it was just uh. You know i didn’t get to work with a team or do any of that, so it was really a focus on you know. Just on the mma is you know, you got to work the skills you got to work, everything every every aspect of it and be consistent on it, and that was the most important thing was just being consistent and i think that transferred over uh the biggest thing From football into mma, was you know, being consistent and in my training, speaking of consistency, riding that wave of that last fight? How i mean you mentioned wanting to fight fight frequently, and how soon are you ready to get back in there right away uh? I would have fought you know the week after i i didn’t care. You know i was trying to fight. I was trying to fight. While i was in fight island uh. You know they had an opportunity to take a fight. I said yes uh multiple times to the fight uh and it didn’t it didn’t pan out and then it got offered another fight and said yes to that. You know it was and that didn’t work out. You know the guy ended up testing positive for covid and so there’s a whole scrap the whole fight and um. The other fight got handed off to someone else. Somehow i don’t know um, but you know it didn’t work out. So i’m ready. You know i’m ready to step in at 185. You know 70 is definitely a little tougher, but i can do it um, but i mean i’m even thinking. Moving up to 185 honestly, it seems like a lot of 85ers are getting fights. There’S a lot of 85 fights um happening. A lot of 85.5 85 is dropping out, so i mean, if i’m not the first call to step into 85, because i’m not an 85 or well shoot i’ll move up to 85, and then you know i could be that first call. So i’ve competed at 85 before i’m, not i’m not worried about going in there competing. I know i can uh go in there and fight against the best, so i’ve kind of built this platform on making match-ups. So after every event, i’d say this person should fight that person and so on and so forth. That being said, whether it’s realistic or not, whether it’s someone you like someone, you dislike or someone you just admire before it’s all said and done. Is there someone that you’d say you know what i want to test my skills against that person before they retire before i retire uh, absolutely, you know, there’s uh actually they’re fighting each other and uh. I would like to fight uh i like to fight either one or both of them. I’D like to buy both of them honestly uh, robbie, lawler and mike perry like those are fights i want and uh you know, robbie lawler is older, been doing it for a longer time. You know there’s you know. Hopefully he doesn’t retire anytime soon, but i would have liked to fight him before he retires. You know and he’s a scrapper. He throws down that’s my kind of guy and uh same with mike perry. You know he brings it, so those are kind of fights. I want exciting fights like that: um i’d love to fight either one of those guys and last question um. I can’t can’t go this interview without asking i mean it’s tomorrow night. I guess tomorrow daytime khabib, vs, justin gaichy. I mean everybody’s talking about it. I’Ve been hyped. I’Ve been like looking forward to this fight for months now and i’m it’s like 24 hours away and i still can’t believe it’s going down. What’S your uh, what’s your take on the fight who do you think’s winning it? I, like both guys both stand up, stand up, guys class acts. You know um both beasts um but honestly, i’m leaning towards uh gachi with the upset – or i don’t even know, who’s the favorite. But i’m saying gage he’s going to upset him. What do you think it uh? How do you think he’s going to win uh? I think he’s he’s going to win by how he always wins. Ko tko i mean uh. I i mean khabib’s, he’s great and he’s great at doing what he he does and mixing up his hands too, but i just think uh you know geichi can stuff some takedowns in the beginning and make him stand. Um, it’s gon na be going to be more in his favor and i think he’s going to catch him all right and lastly, for uh for anyone watching this, how can they follow you and is there anybody you’d like to thank or or plug yeah um? You can follow me on instagram and twitter at brian underscore barbarina, and then i have a fan page on facebook. You can find me at brian barbarina there um also like i mean plugging or whatever saying thank you, my wife, my kids, of course, the most important thing to me. Uh, you know they’re. Always there supporting me loving on me um, you know i couldn’t. I wouldn’t be able to do it without my wife, so um huge love to them. My gym jimmo jeff, jimmo, always being there for me, uh, going beyond above and beyond. In my camps and my training, you know really doing everything i need to to be better fighter. My teammates, of course, my sponsors sweet james gold club, canine, grooves, um, vital proteins, diamond mma, um, zip, fizz and come on come on. Come on, traeger traeger grills got ta, have a traeger and um. You know just everybody out there, all the fans, everybody who supports me and just likes to [ __ ] well likes to watch me fight and enjoys it, and you know all the farmers out there shout out to you guys. I’Ve been uh, i’ve been a fan for for a long time man, so i really appreciate you coming on. I almost have like the entire jimmo team. I think all i have left is. I think i’ve interviewed everybody else so awesome. I appreciate it. Man, i’ve been a fan for a long time. Hopefully we get to see you out there soon uh, but until then stay safe man and uh take care of that back awesome. Thank you! So much man. I really appreciate your support. Uh honored to be on here and talking with you man, thank you for having me on and uh, and i hope to be back in there soon put it on a show for everybody all right. Man stay safe. Thank you. You too, all right! There you have it, i mean we had some technical difficulties there in the middle, but i think uh, you know. Overall, you got the message. I mean i’ve been a fan of brian babarina for a very very long time. I’M a huge fan of his huge fan of jimoh you’re, seeing a lot of success coming out of that camp, even though they’re a tight-knit community, not they don’t have as many fighters as like an att or an akk or aka, but uh you’re. Seeing a lot of success out of that camp, especially now in 2020, looking forward to what’s next um for him and uh man. Thank you guys all for uh for uh for tuning in and don’t forget to like comment and subscribe. We have a big one coming tomorrow night, so make sure you guys stay tuned for that uh. Until then i’ll see you guys later

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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