Beltran fought Mitrione at UFC 119 in September in Mitrione's Indianapolis back yard, losing a decision. A few weeks after the fight, Mitrione spent a day working with Beltran and the team at Alliance MMA outside San Diego. And the next thing Beltran knew, he was signing up for a fight against Pat Barry – the same Pat Barry who is a regular training partner of Mitrione.
Beltran said Thursday that comments he claims Mitrione made after working with Team Alliance had him a little perturbed – and he admitted he might still be a little perturbed, but that he won't let it get in the way of his heavyweight tussle with Barry on Saturday's Fight for the Troops 2 card.
"We had some candid conversation, where I thought we were talking amongst boys," Beltran said. "He came out, and it was all good – we opened our doors to him at Alliance MMA. He came through, worked out and we had a conversation, talking about the fight and how it went down, and he said some disrespectful stuff afterward. And we'll address that when the time comes. Let's just say that I've got a special place in my heart for Matt Mitrione, and it will always be there. (But) it doesn't matter. I'll be able to focus on Pat Barry."
Beltran (12-4, 2-1 UFC) said his fight preparation for his second straight Duke Roufus protege was a little different. He fought a brawl with Mitrione, which isn't what he expects from Barry – even though that's precisely the kind of fight Beltran is looking for.
"I think they're different in that Matt Mitrione does better in a brawl, whereas Pat Barry needs his range," Beltran said. "He needs that space to fire off his technique. He hasn't really had that many dirty, ugly brawls that tend to happen in the UFC sometimes. It's all up to me to make it the kind of fight I want to fight, and I've proven time and time again that's a dirty brawl you're going to see in a parking lot somewhere. It's up to me to make the fight how I want it to be."
Barry (5-2, 2-2 UFC) is fighting for the first time since a loss to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at UFC 115 last June, a fight in which he broke a hand and a foot. So he's as in need of a win as Beltran.
On paper, it should be a standup fight – but Beltran said though the ground game isn't Barry's strength, he's under the assumption his Saturday opponent has taken steps to get better should the fight go there.
"I'm sure Pat's improving on the ground," Beltran said. "I'm not gambling that if I get it to the ground, the fight's going to be over. I'm prepared to go all three rounds and grind it out and get a win."