by Jeff Cain
“I expect it to be a good, exciting fight. It is going to be what the people want to see. Win, lose, or draw it is going to be an exciting fight, and I usually win those fights.” Phil Baroni made those prophetic comments to MMAWeekly Radio about his match with Yuki Kondo prior to stepping in the ring last weekend.

‘The New York Bad Ass,’ Phil Baroni, made short work of the Japanese veteran, knocking Kondo out just twenty five seconds into the fight. Phil went into the fight knowing it was a big opportunity to “raise his stock over there.” He certainly did that, but what is next for Baroni?

Will he face Dan Henderson next or will he fight what some fans really want and that’s against Wanderlei Silva? MMAWeekly Radio asked him his thoughts before he went to Japan as host Ryan Bennett asked, “If you beat Yuki Kondo, is Wanderlei Silva or Dan Henderson next for you?” Phil answered, “Whatever man. Yea. That fight(with Silva) would be a great fight for me. Of course I would love to fight Wanderlei Silva . . . He’ll stand and go chin for chin, punch for punch. I’m confident with anybody in that game.”

He added, “If I knock him down, I ain’t going to jump on top of him. I’m going to kick his head off on the ground too. I’m going to stomp his head in.”

The Hammer House and Chute Boxe have become bitter rivals since Mark Coleman defeated Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at Pride 31 and their camps’ post fight altercation in the ring. Baroni was asked his version of what transpired. He said, “Coleman took Shogun down and hurt him. Wanderlei ran into the ring from the audience. He didn’t belong there. The guy is a champion. He doesn’t need to be starting street fights. I was holding Coleman back and caught him out of the corner of my eye and I, you know, spear him and pound him.”

Asked what Silva said to him, Phil stated, “We were just fighting. In the back, I don’t know what he was saying man. He was saying blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, speaking Brazilian.”

MMAWeekly mentioned the size difference between the two and Baroni replied, “He’s big. He’s big, but so what?”

Discussing a hypothetical match up with Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua, Phil commented, “That would be a great fight too. He’s tough as hell also. He is a tougher person for me than maybe Silva. Styles make fights. He is more of a ground guy. He’s got good Jiu-Jitsu, the best Jiu-Jitsu of any Chute Boxe guy. He’s a wormy, go with it type of fighter. I’d love to fight him.”

Baroni was asked to rank himself among the 183-185lb. fighters in the world. He said, “I think I’m one punch away from being the champion, one punch away from being the number one fighter in the world, so I don’t know where I’d stack myself, but definitely in the top ten. And if you look at it objectively, maybe even top five. I’m easily in the top ten.”

With rumors swirling of a Hammer House vs. Chute Boxe card, Baroni could easily find himself fighting either Silva or “Ninja’ Rua. He still has two fights left on his Pride contract and is only “one punch away.” Baroni may fight as soon as June, but it will be very interesting to see what Pride does next with the New York Bad Ass.