Joey Beltran likes to keep a clear head when going into fights. He’ll try and avoid the trash talk. Any echo of pre-fight banter from his opponent is something he’ll try to avoid. This practice continues into his fourth career UFC bout.
“The Mexicutioner,” as Beltran is nicknamed, is scheduled to face Pat Barry in what will surely be a stand-up brawl at UFC Fight for the Troops 2. Barry isn’t much of talker when it comes to pre-fight build up, so Beltran doesn’t have to work very hard to avoid getting caught up in the talk for this fight.
Though he doesn’t know him very well, Beltran’s brief experiences with Barry have proven to him that his pending opponent is a pretty nice guy. Oddly enough, this makes it easier for him to focus on punching Barry in the face.
The same couldn’t be said in Beltran’s last outing. In his UFC 119 loss to Matt Mitrione, Beltran, admittedly, let the talk get to him. Any game plan he had was done away with when he gave in to trading words with Mitrione.
Beltran explained the situation to MMAWeekly Radio.
“I got to fight week and I had a clear head, and a clear idea of what I needed to do to win the fight,” he said. “And then the (expletive) started talking and out went the game plan and we got into a pissing contest.
“It was a good fight. It made for Fight of the Night, obviously, but (it) probably should have been a little bit different if I had stuck to what we worked on in the training camp. So, for me, once emotion gets involved, I kind of suck. I mean, I don’t suck. I just come out and try and kill the guy. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t. When you go against a guy 20 pounds more than you, four inches taller than you with I don’t even know how many inches reach Matt had on me, it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to stand in front of him and swing at him. But that’s me in a nutshell. You talk (expletive), I’m going to come for you.”
Even the league of “keyboard warriors” reaches out Beltran in an effort to get under his skin. Addicted Internet surfers and message board bullies get on their parent’s computers to bash on Beltran, but it’s those same people that provide a healthy laugh for the UFC heavyweight.
“I welcome the haters,” Beltran said with a chuckle. “It’s funny.”
Like in other sports, MMA has it’s share of home court advantages. Walking into Staples Center to play the Lakers, for example, clearly gives the team from Los Angeles an edge towards victory. Since joining the UFC in early 2010, Beltran feels he’s been on a road trip without having played a home game yet.
With a fight in Canada against a Canadian, then one with Mitrione relatively close to the Midwesterner’s backyard, the fight at UFC Fight for the Troops 2 in Fort Hood, Texas, gives him the feeling that he’ll receive a warm welcoming from the troops when he fights for them.
“Finally, I get to fight on somewhat of a level playing field,” Beltran explained. “My first fight, I fought a Gracie in Vegas. Second fight, I fought a giant Canadian in Canada. And then I fought Matt Mitrione practically two miles from his house in Indianapolis. Everywhere I’ve gone so far, I’m booed. Maybe I’ll get some love from the troops. I’m pretty sure I will.”
Needless to say, “The Mexicutioner” anticipates a grand reaction from the uniformed crowd.
“I know that crowd is going to be freaking nuts,” he said. “I definitely feed off of that. It makes me pumped. The crowd scares some people and freaks them out, but it gets me going.”
The mood in the UFC nowadays is “win and you live to fight another day.” Some fighters seem to have paid their dues and secured a life long tenure, but others are far from achieving such a career goal. At 2-1 in the UFC, Beltran hasn’t necessarily guaranteed himself a job. As a matter of fact, the fighter is well aware of the possibility of being put on the chopping block if he doesn’t come out on top in his next fight.
It’s nowhere that any UFC fighter wants to be, but at that same time it’s nothing he tries to focus on when training for competition.
“More than likely, it’s loser go home between us two,” Beltran explained. “I don’t want to go back to DJing Bar Mitzvahs. I like fighting for a living and UFC is the place you gotta be for that to happen. It is what it is at this point. I think with the additions of all the WEC fighters and all those fighters getting under the payroll now, it is win or go home time. It’s all good, though. At the end of the day, if I get cut, it’s not the end of the world. You see people all the time get back here and I know that I haven’t come close to reaching my potential as a fighter. I just want to win and come back home.”
And if that win comes Beltran’s way at UFC Fight for the Troops 2, the San Diego fighter is confident he’ll be booking travel plans to Rio for the Summer.
“(If) all goes well, (I’ll) win this fight then get on that Brazil card.”