Following a win over Sang Hoon Yoo at Dana White’s Contender Series in August of last year, featherweight Peter Barrett was eager to make his UFC debut when fights fell through and the novel coronavirus hit, delaying his plans.
While having to wait through everything was admittedly mentally taxing, Barrett was able to keep his head down and work through things as he waited to get his call to fight again.
“We were hoping for the Boston (UFC) card in the fall (to make my debut), but things didn’t work out the way we hoped, so it was back to the grindstone, just getting ready, staying prepared,” Barrett told MMAWeekly.com.
“I worked through (the frustration of everything). I got back; got my bearings straight, got back into a routine, got back with training partners, got back with a small group; (the UFC) said to reach out when we were ready to fight, and here we are.”
For Barrett’s fight game, he used the down time to regain some perspective on things, and feels that it will help make him a better fighter moving forward.
“This whole time has given me an opportunity to slow down,” said Barrett. “I’ve been focusing on my students and furthering their education, which has allowed me to have a little bit of introspection and make sure that I’m doing the things that I’m preaching.
“It’s almost like putting my money where my mouth is and be more aware of everything and I how I do. I believe you’re going to see a better version of me than you saw on August 27 of last year.”
On Saturday in Las Vegas, Barrett (11-3) will make his long-delayed promotional debut against late replacement Youssef Zalal (9-2) in a 145-pound preliminary bout at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik.
“I think if I can push the pace and stay in his face, you’re going to see a first round finish and a potential bonus of the night,” Barrett said.
Having had to wait a year to have his first fight in the famed Octagon, Barrett is eager to close out 2020 with as many fights as he can to make up for lost time.
“Ideally, I would like to fight two more times this year, especially with the UFC looking for people to step up and be ready,” said Barrett. “That’s where I’m going to cash in on that. If can stay close to my fighting weight after this then it’s a no-brainer.”