First off, I really want to fight. It’s a big show — first one in Boston. It would have been great. The card is huge, and maybe I could have a good fight and get on TV. Get some exposure. I need it now badly. I’m left out of a lot of sh** nowadays. I’m forgotten at the expos and appearances. Just everything with the UFC. I wanted to win a big fight, look impressive and get considered again. I wanted to say, ‘Hey Dana, I’m still f**king here. I still can fight.’ I wanted to say it to everyone: the fans, the media. I’m still Phil f**king Baroni. That used to mean something. I want it to mean something again. I want to say, ‘Hey Strikeforce, you made a big mistake letting me go. You f**ked up. You blew it. I’m still somebody, and I still bring things to the table that not many fighters do.’ I just want to be a contender. I want respect from my peers, the fans, media and the promotions. I wanted to say, ‘I’m still here, don’t f**king forget about me. I’m not dead yet. I want to be a contender — I want to matter again. I want to be the biggest comeback story ever — a Cinderella Man. It’s not depression, but I’m going through my share of problems like a lot of people in Vegas and across the country with foreclosure, money … everything. I’m almost in the same position I was 10 years ago, but now the window of opportunity is closing. I don’t want to be here when it shuts with none of my goals accomplished and all my dreams dead. I still have a little time, and I want to shove them all through the window with me. It’s a million-to-one shot, but, hey, Rocky did it.
—Phil Baroni telling MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that he wants to matter again
As he reveals in the interview, Phil Baroni was going through a tough time before the collarbone injury knocked him out of UFC 118, and that only made it worse. He’s taken a job outside of fighting and his wife’s taken a second job just so they can pay the bills. That’s how it’s supposed to be when you’re starting out, not when you’re 10 years into your career. (Take note, young fighters, manage your money) As Baroni says though, his window of opportunity is rapidly closing. His says his left shoulder is dead and he just doesn’t have the fast hands that helped him win fights earlier in his career. I’m all about “Cinderella” stories as Baroni puts it, but the odds are heavily stacked against him.
Image via Sherdog