Nick Barnes Feels Like He’s on The Cusp of the UFC Heading Into LFA 45

In regards to his second round TKO loss to Curtis Millender at LFA 30 this past January, welterweight Nick Barnes feels that complacency lead to the finish.

Having initially gone into the bout wanting to grapple with Millender, Barnes felt he was doing well enough standing to want to keep the fight on the feet, which heralded the end of the fight.

“With Curtis my downfall in that fight started happening when I got a little too comfortable with my stand-up,” Barnes told MMAWeekly.com.

“My whole game plan going into that was taking him down and wearing him out and then use an opening to my advantage. Going into the second round instead of going for the takedown I wanted to stand up a little longer, and he found a hole in my stand-up and got me with that counter and put me out.”

In addition to working on the technical mistake Barnes made which created the opening that Millender took advantage of, he spent the last six months working on pressing the fight instead of sitting back when he has an advantage.

“There was a hole in stand-up, so I’ve definitely worked on that,” said Barnes. “But other than that, we’ve really worked on going into fights aggressive.

“Work on angling out, work on staying aggressive, and don’t let myself get too comfortable. If the fight looks like it’s going my way, don’t start relaxing, stay aggressive because in this game anything can happen. You might think you have the advantage, and the next thing they hit your button.”

Barnes (12-3) will look to rebound this Friday in Cabazon, California, when he takes on Erick Silva (19-9) in a 170-pound main event of LFA 45.

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“I feel like we have very similar styles,” Barnes said of Silva. “He’s patient, he looks for a shot, and when he sees an opening he explodes. Knowing that he does come aggressive, he’s going to leave himself open.

“Coming out of the UFC and coming into a new organization, I think he feels he’s got something to prove and that he’s still got it, so I feel like he’ll leave himself open for counters in this fight.”

While Barnes’ focus is firmly on Friday night, he does admit that being so close in the past to taking the next step in his career, a win over a UFC vet like Silva could finally provide the stepping stone he needs to do just that.

“I never like looking past anybody,” said Barnes. “With that being said, anyone I’ve lost to has been moved up to the UFC. I feel like I’m right on that cusp.

“Curtis moved up, Brian (Camozzi) moved up, and Jesse (Taylor) has done really well on TUF. With those level of guys that I’ve lost to, I’m right there. I could be the next one moving up. But like I said, that’s all down the line. Right now I’m looking at Erick and getting that one done.”