by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
"The New York Bad Ass," Phil Baroni, returns to
the East Coast for the first time since his UFC 45 bout with Evan Tanner in
November of 2003 to take on Joey Villasenor in EliteXC’s debut event on the CBS
Television Network, CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights. Baroni predicts a
About returning to the East Coast, the New Yorker told
MMAWeekly.com, "I’m real excited. I haven’t been back East for a fight in
a long time. On the East Coast the fans supported me. I’ve been in hostile
territory for the last couple of years. It’s nice to go home and have a
Baroni left his Las Vegas base to prepare for this fight in
San Jose, Calif., at the American Kickboxing Academy; a camp Baroni has trained
at on multiple occasions in the past.
In San Jose, under the direction of Javier Mendez and
"Crazy" Bob Cook, sparring hard with Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Trevor
Prangley and Mike Swick, Baroni feels he’s on top of his game.
"I’ve never lost a fight when I train out of AKA,"
stated Baroni. "Those guys really care about me. They know me well. I
don’t know, maybe I just need people to be on me, to be on top of me and make
sure I’m doing what I’m doing, and here they do that."
Leading up to their showdown on CBS, the war of words
between Baroni and Villasenor has escalated the point where the fight could be
billed as a grudge match.
Addressing the pre-fight banter, Baroni commented, "I
don’t know what’s up with the guy. He’s trying to make it personal. I don’t
know man. He might be nervous. This is his first real big fight, so I’m not
sure. I’m not sure what to think of it. He’s making stupid comments like,
‘there’s no good fighters from the East Coast.’
"I mean Smokin’ Joe Burrito from New Mexico, I’m going
to beat the beans out of this guy and send him back there. There’s a lot of
great fighters from the East Coast. This guy is going to run into one from the
East Coast and get knocked out."
Heading into the EliteXC cage Saturday night, Baroni’s
gameplan is simple. "My gameplan is to fight my fight," said the 32-year-old
New Yorker. "I don’t change my gameplan for who I’m fighting. I’ve done
that a lot in the past with trainers in Vegas and trainers trying to over think
and overstep their boundaries," said Baroni.
"I’ve got to do what I do best. You know what I mean?
I don’t think anybody can deal with me when I’m at my best. When I’m 100
percent and fighting my fight, I don’t think there is anyone who can keep up
with me, so I’ve got to fight my fight."
The outspoken mixed martial artist added, "I’ve just
got to fight my fight, and everybody knows what that is, so it’s not a secret.
Tell him to be ready for it because I’m coming guns-a-blazin’ for three