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Pre-UFC 92 Interview with Patrick 'HD' Barry

Patrick Barry could be exactly what the UFC is missing in the heavyweight division: a heavy hitter to mix it up with the pool of grapplers dominating the organization's division.

Barry, a former kickboxer for K-1 and Chuck Norris' World Combat League, makes his UFC debut on Saturday, less than six months after his MMA debut.

The 29-year-old Barry, whose nicknames are "HD" and "Get Hype," made the move in May to MMA when he joined up with kickboxing champion "Duke" Roufus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Barry began fighting immediately, and secured wins in all three of his fights via first-round (T)KO.

In this exclusive interview with, Barry talks about his move to MMA and his training for a more experienced MMA fighter ? and BJJ purple belt -- in Dan Evensen. How's training for your first UFC fight?

Patrick Barry: Training has been going really well. Pushing since I've been in Milwaukee for like six months. I've had some fights and have also stayed back to help some team members to get ready for their fights. The last month and a half-, two months have been focusing really hard on this fight. And we're ready, everything's winding down now. As a former K-1 fighter, do you see yourself standing out since the heavyweight roster is stacked with fighters coming from wrestling and BJJ backgrounds?

Barry: There are a lot of aspects you have to work on to be a MMA fighter and as of right now, I'm coming more from a strictly kickboxing, like striking background. I've only had a few months of training in wrestling and jiu-jitsu, so my focus my entire career has been on striking, and counter striking. That's all it's been so, do I think I'm going to have an advantage in the striking game, in comparison to most guys in MMA? Yes. But am I going to be [at a disadvantage] when it comes to jiu-jitsu. For now, yeah. When did you start grappling? How has than been coming along?

Barry: It's definitely improved. Like I said, I've only been five or six months into it, grappling and wrestling, but it's getting better and better everyday. I've been working with [Eric] "Red" Schafer, who is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, and not only is he my jiu-jitsu coach, but he's an active athlete himself. He still fights and competes himself, and he has a great idea on what I need to do because he's applying it on a regular basis. We got Scott Houston, one of the best Gi jiu-jitsu guys in the country. We got Rob Smith, who's a world-class wrestler. We got teammates like Ben Rothwell, Alan Belcher. We got an entire squadron of guys to help me, who'll be there for me all day and night when it comes to my ground game. Has your background in San Shou made it easier for you since you were already accustomed to defending takedowns?

Barry: Yeah, I'm used to defending takedowns and I have a better idea of how to strike without getting taken down. Because of that background you have to be able to kick differently, punch differently, you have to stand on your feet different, you can't just stand like a tree without any worry. In San Shou you can get grabbed and thrown to the ground, pushed down or just tackled. So you need to be more agile, way more athletic. And you have to be able to punch and kick in a certain manner the way you can't get grabbed, or countered, or thrown. My San Shou background is going to definitely help out. When did you begin thinking about MMA?

Barry: I'd been hearing about MMA since the beginning of my career. I was always told I was more designed for it. That I was better built for MMA. I was never too interested because I wanted to be "Kung Po" from "Kickboxer" because I always wanted to be a ninja my entire life. And it wasn't until this year when I got back to the States when I hooked up with Duke [Roufus] that I was like 'you know, it's time to make the move,' because fight sports are evolving and MMA is taking over the world, and if you are a fighter you got to be able to handle any type of fighter in any terrain at any point of time. That's what I am. I'm a fighter, so I gotta be ready for anything and MMA is the future. Now that kickboxing is behind you, are you glad you don't have to fight more than once in one night?

Barry: That's awesome. [Laughs.] Yeah, that's one of the best points of it. Fighting multiple times, 1, 2 or 3 times in the same three-hour period; that's just rough man. It takes a lot of the body. I am getting older and it's more exciting when you know you just have one fight. You can swing for the fences from the first bell, knowing that you don't have to do it again in another 30 minutes. What are your thoughts on Dan Evensen?

Barry: Dan Evensen is humongous and he's got a lot more experience than I have. That's the exact description of everyone that I have ever fought in my kickboxing career so. Am I nervous? Absolutely. I mean anyone can win. Dan Evensen is huge. If he hits me, I'm going to fall down. He has a better ground game and he's got more experience when it comes to wrestling and jiu-jitsu than I do, but I feel very confident that my striking game is going to be far superior to his. Did you pick up anything from Evensen's fight against Cheick Kongo?

Barry: Yeah, I watched his fight against Cheick Kongo and that's the only fight I've seen him in. And when I first saw it, I saw one or two holes in his standup game, because it was primarily a standup fight. It was more a standup fight than an actual ground game and being a pure striker I saw a few holes that I'll be able to take advantage if he gives me those opportunities. There's a video on Youtube of you doing the Techno Viking. Keith Jardine doesn't seem to want to play along, so can we expect you to enter to it at UFC 92? Especially since you're fighting a "Viking" and it's only fitting?

Barry: [Laughs.] No, no, not yet. You will, eventually. We'll save it till you least expect it, and then it's going to jump up. [Laughs.] What's the highlight of your career so far?

Barry: The highlight of my career would be getting the opportunity to fight in the UFC. But fight-wise, when I fought Gary Goodridge, April 28, 2007 in Hawaii. That was the biggest star I've competed against. The introduction was longer than the fight. (The fight last 67 seconds.) Before we go, are there people you'd like to thank or any closing comments?

Barry: I would like to thank Duke Roufus for bringing me in. He is my coach, my friend, my mentor. Eric Schafer, who is my jiu-jitsu coach. Brian Butler over at Sucker Punch Entertainment, for helping me get my first sponsor I've ever had, which is TapouT. Gamma-O, Dr. Julie Vance over at Chiropractic Health and Wellness in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for keeping me together, and my entire team and family here in Milwaukee who have been there with me since day one. They've been behind me through all my ups and downs and they'll be there with me that night in the cage.

Related Links: Dana White's UFC 92 Video Blog | UFC 92 Preview | Griffin vs. Evans: Whose heart is greater? | Nogueira vs. Mir: Two men with something to prove | Jackson vs. Silva: The psychology of being KO'd | Interview with Patrick "Get Hype" Barry

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