Hidden towards the bottom of one of the most stacked mixed martial arts cards to date, Pat “Get Hype” Barry will be looking to make more than just a little statement in his UFC debut to separate himself from the crowd and force the heavyweight division to take notice. Barry knows what a huge opportunity he will have in front of himself when he faces off with 10-3 Norwegian striker, Dan Evensen, and hopes to take full advantage of it.
There will be a limited number of ways to shine brightly on a card packed with stars this Saturday night at UFC 92 and one of them will be with a highlight reel knockout. Something Barry freely confesses he will be aiming for when he steps into the octagon for the very first time.
Entering the UFC, Barry will secure his spot as one of the heavyweight division’s most decorated and dangerous strikers. The New Orleans based fighter was a two time U.S. Open San Shou champion before he ended up moving to Holland to train full time with four time K-1 champion Ernesto Hoost in Amsterdam.
After making his own successful career in K-1 and competing for a short time in Chuck Norris’ World Combat League, Barry decided that it was time to transition his kickboxing to work for him in the more complete fighting world of mixed martial arts. The 29-year old heavyweight hooked up with Duke Roufus and UFC veteran Eric Schafer, making the crossover in May of 2008 and hasn’t looked back since.
Upon venturing into MMA, Barry has looked nothing short of spectacular. In just three months this year the 5’11″, 230 pound powerhouse reeled off three wins with all three victories coming by way of knockout. Now less than a year into his MMA career he is looking at a four fight contract with the UFC and the opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity, he told FiveOuncesOfPain.com in an exclusive interview, he would be sure to take full advantage of.
With lightning in his fists and some of the most brutal kicks ever seen in mixed martial arts, Pat Barry will be a name that many will be sure to be talking about this coming Sunday morning.
Cory Brady: So where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
Pat Barry: My parents used to open bilingual elementary schools around the world. I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana but I was raised in Bogota, Colombia until I was six. My parents had opened a school in Ecuador and they opened a school in Bogota and I stayed there until my father got sick with cancer and we moved back to the states before he passed away. After my dad passed away it was my myself, my younger brother, my older sister and my mom and we ended up staying in New Orleans up until now.
Cory Brady: So how did you end up hooking up with Ernesto Hoost?
Pat Barry: I was asked if I wanted to train some kickboxing in Amsterdam at Ernesto’s gym by a friend of mine that was in the U.N. He said he would sponsor me if I went out there to train so I went and I guess I did pretty good. I must have put on a pretty good showing because they eventually asked me to go in the back room to train with the superstar guys. Guys like Jerell Venetian and Gilbert Yvel were back there. It was the special training. When I started training there I would just pick Ernesto’s brains and just ask him a million questions. I would just never leave him alone until he eventually just agreed to be my friend. We got cool, we got really close. The more we got to know each other he saw that I had a lot of ability and liked my personality and eventually he asked me to train with him full time.
Cory Brady: You were already a pretty accomplished kickboxer by the time you went to train with Ernesto. What are some of the most valuable lessons you took away from training with him?
Pat Barry: One of the most important lessons I learned from training with Ernesto is that you can’t knock everybody out. All of my fights had been ending by knockout left and right. I know that was one of my first rude awakenings was having a sparring session with him that went past one or two rounds. He was the one that showed me that you have to be able to go the distance and that you need to have more than just the “knock the guy out” plan. Ernesto just knows everything about kickboxing. He’s been in the game for years and he’s done it all. I had to learn that there’s more to the game other than punching and kicking. There’s an emotional side that is attached to it as well. In order to be the best of the best there are a lot of sacrifices and a lot of dedication that goes into it. It’s not just going to practice and that’s it.
Cory Brady: I heard that you first started training professionally for kickboxing at the age of 21. What caused you to decide to start training kickboxing while you were a student at LSU?
Pat Barry: I was 23 when I. threw my first punch and a year into training is when I started fighting professionally. Ever since I was a kid all I’ve wanted to do was be a ninja. I was a ninja every Halloween and I used to collect swords and ninja stars growing up. I would play Street Fighter video games, watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I was an absolute Jean Claude Van Damme fanatic. When I started kickboxing it was just a hobby for some exercise. The more I did it, the more I liked it and the more I liked it, the more I loved it. Then one day I accidentally knocked out the wrong guy and realized that I was really good at it.
Cory Brady: So you took part in the 2004 K-1 tryouts in Las Vegas. What was that like?
Pat Barry: My brother, my cousin and I got in a car and drove from New Orleans all the way to Las Vegas. We got to Las Vegas at like two minutes to twelve and twelve o’clock was the last tryout session. I jumped out of the car on the strip and ran all the way up the Bellagio parking lot which is like a mile while while I was barefoot, in my kickboxing shorts. I had never been to Vegas before so I had no idea where I was and I was running through all kinds of people. I was running over people left and right and just ran into the lobby screaming “Wait! Wait!”. Luckily, the people that knew what was going on pointed me in the right direction and I got in there at the last second. I ended up with the last tryout slot. I went in there and just out shined everybody. When it came to the personality, the boxing, the defense and the sparring, I out did everybody by far.
Cory Brady: What kind of different tests would they put you through?
Pat Barry: First they check your appearance and then they check your flexibility. Then they check your conditioning by having you run back and forth and all sorts of stuff like that. They want to check your boxing out where they have specific people hold the pads for you. They want to check your kicks and then they check your punch kick combinations. Then they would have us spar. You’re supposed to spar like seven guys and I sparred two and they told me not to worry about it. I kicked the first guy in the leg once and he didn’t want to do it anymore. He was like 6’5″ and 300 pounds. The second guy. I punched him in the head once with a left hook and he just collapsed on the ground. That’s how I ended up getting my initial K-1 fight with Scott Lighty.
Cory Brady: What caused the switch from kickboxing to mixed martial arts?
Pat Barry: It’s just the way that fight sports are evolving nowadays. I’m not saying that kickboxing is dying but MMA is just taking over the world at such a fast rate. If you want to call yourself a fighter then you have to be ready for any type of battle on any different terrain at any given time. I just think that mixed martial arts is the ultimate collaboration of all of the different martial arts styles. MMA is just really taking over. It’s everywhere now, everywhere you look. You can’t even go anywhere without seeing Chuck Liddell. It’s on the movies, the TV, the radio, the billboards, the commercials, it’s everywhere. You don’t see anything about kickboxing outside of MMA in the states.
Cory Brady: Are there any plans to return to kickboxing anytime soon?
Pat Barry: I’m pursuing MMA to the fullest. I’m not against kickboxing. I’m not going to turn it down if an opportunity comes around but that’s just not where my main focus is. I’ll still be a kickboxer. I’m just going to do it in the cage.
Cory Brady: So are you going to be looking to come out with a bang in your UFC debut?
Pat Barry: I just want to make a mega ridiculous statement in my very first fight. I want to let everyone know that I have arrived from the very first fight. People say that there are no elite level strikers in UFC’s heavyweight division. Guys just aren’t going for it anymore. A fight is a show and we have to keep the crowd happy. From what I see a lot of guys are neglecting their striking nowadays. Everybody has been focusing on their wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Which is awesome, I’ve actually been focusing on my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu more than my striking for this fight coming up, but people have been neglecting their striking a lot. Like I said, it’s a show for the fans and we have to keep the fans happy.
Cory Brady: How do you feel you match up with Dan Evensen?
Pat Barry: Dan Evensen poses a few problems for me because he’s taller, he’s heavier than me and he’s way more experienced than I am. I think that one of my advantages is that because of my height and my weight I can be underestimated. I’m 5’11″ and I weigh 230 pounds. Also, people underestimate me because they see my nice demeanor and that I’m just a real calm and relaxed guy so I think I have an advantage because I’m unknown.
Cory Brady: He seems like he likes to stand up in most of his fights. Do you expect him to stand and trade with you?
Pat Barry: They say he’s a striker and I say that everybody’s a striker until they get hit by a real striker and then they turn into wrestler’s really fast.
Cory Brady: So have you been focusing a lot on your takedown defense?
Pat Barry: Yeah, I’ve been focusing on a lot of takedown defense. I think he’s going to want to stand with me until I either hit him or throw something that misses him and it scares the [expletive] out of him. The majority of my training has been takedown defense and being able to get back to my feet.
Cory Brady: How do you see this fight unfolding?
Pat Barry: I keep envisioning the knockout of the night when I go to sleep at night. Like an awful career ending knockout.
Cory Brady: Where have you been training to get ready for Evensen?
Pat Barry: At Duke Roufus Academy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Duke Roufus is my main coach and Eric Schafer is my jiu-jitsu coach.
Cory Brady: Do you see anyone in the UFC’s heavyweight division that could give you any problems standing right now?
Pat Barry: Antoni Hardonk is the only person that comes to mind. Antoni is by far the best striker in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
Cory Brady: Obviously your stand up is of the highest caliber so the question is, how’s the ground game been coming along?
Pat Barry: It has really come a long way. I’m kind of a mutant when it comes to picking up on things. I think it’s come really far for only having five months of any kind of ground training. I asked Eric where I stood right now and he said that I was comfortable on the ground with blue belts. So I’m getting stronger on the ground, my conditioning is getting better and I was told my instincts are really coming along.
Cory Brady: Anyone you’d really love to test yourself against in the UFC or just whoever they put you up against?
Pat Barry: You know everyone always says that they’ll fight anyone but that’s not really me. I want to be the best in the world so in order to be the best, you have to beat whoever the best is at that time whenever you get the opportunity. I’ll be honest with you, Brock Lesnar is probably the scariest man that I have ever seen.
Cory Brady: Thanks a lot and good luck in your UFC debut. Is there anyone you would like to thank before I let you go?
Pat Barry: Duke Roufus, Eric Schafer, Brian Butler, Sucker Punch Entertainment, TapouT and Gamma-O.