“The whole New York Badass thing is a gimmick more than anything, but I am getting older now—I will be 34 when I next fight. Being a punk at 24 is cool but now I think it’s tired. I’m not a punk or a wise guy I am a regular guy, a blue collar guy, and a hard worker and that’s my real personality…I have a four-fight contract but I need to start winning or I know I will get cut. I don’t want to get cut by the UFC because it took me six long years to fight my way back. I have always wanted to finish my career in the UFC and I wouldn’t want to be released now as it would be a long hard road back.”

—Phil Baroni in an interview with The Bleacher Report talking about leaving his NYBA persona behind to focus on winning

Phil Baroni most recently loss to Amir Sadollah at UFC 106 in fight where he was completely outworked on the feet. He says the extreme weight cut he endured hurt his performance.

“I cut 21 pounds in 36 hours for that fight and I feel like I lost a lot of power at 170 pounds. It was my first fight in the UFC for six years and I was so stressed out and nervous. It was a must win situation so all I did was punch, I didn’t use wrestling or any of my other skills.”

Baroni also realizes his lifestyle wasn’t doing him any favors either. He doesn’t hang out with a group of fighters like you see with most tight-knit training camps. His friends like to drink and gamble, and he felt like he needed to get away from that, so he packed his bags and went to Thailand to reset his focus.

“Before coming here I was not doing what I should have been doing, I was living a bad lifestyle. I spent three months drinking and gambling and eating. I lost a lot of money and I realized I have an eating problem, you could call it a disorder.”

“My attitude when I first got here was bad and I wanted to go home but now I don’t want to leave. I have learned so much and I have realized I have a lot more to learn. The whole experience has been really good for me, both as a fighter and as a person, and hopefully that will be reflected in my next fight.”

I never really cared for the robe, the glasses or the dancing, but I’ll definitely miss the interviews Baroni used to give. They were freakin’ hilarious.

You can check out Phil training at Tiger Muay Thai below.

Image via Esther Lin for Showtime