UFC heavyweight Pat Barry is done with the fun and games.
Well, at least for a little bit.
The entertaining New Orleans native has become a fan favorite over his five trips to the Octagon thanks in large part of his engaging personality outside the cage. While he’s delivered a series of exciting performances in amassing a 3-2 record, his penchant for posing in his underwear and getting laughs in interviews has made him somewhat of a cult hero.
But after constantly meeting the comedic needs of his adoring public, Barry has backed away from the spotlight of late. The 31-year-old says there are two reasons for that. One is the massive French kickboxer who will be standing across the cage from him on Sunday night. The other has nothing to do with fighting at all.
“(Getting down to business and focusing on Cheick Kongo) is part of it. The other part is that once you do it a lot people start expecting it from you at all times. When you don’t come through, than all of a sudden, now I’m a jerk for not doing it,” laughed Barry, speaking to HeavyMMA during his final week of preparation. “I was getting messages from people saying, `I just woke up and haven’t gotten my morning laugh from you yet. Is something wrong? Are you alright? Tell me that funny joke.’ Now it was starting to become expected. I don’t know about you, I’ve always been the kind of guy that now that I’ve gotta do something, I don’t want to do it.”
That’s not to say the comedic antics of the charismatic heavyweight are gone for good. Just last week, Barry shared a 90-second video with the world where his mother chewed him out over the phone. The call came as a result of a picture he posted on Twitter and later sent to his mom.
“Dude looked just like me,” Barry said with a chuckle, beginning on the back story that led to last week’s nugget of Internet entertainment. “I pulled up Twitter and was looking through it. I thought it was me at first for a split second. I took a quick look and thought he looked really close to me. He’s blowing a puff of smoke out — some guy smoking a cigarette on Twitter – so I took the picture, and I sent it to my brother. He looked real close and thought it looked like me a lot too, so I sent the picture to my mom. I sent the picture to her, that was it.
Barry can’t help but start laughing as he continues, recalling his mother’s reaction that he shared with the world on Facebook and Twitter later that day.
“She was not happy about that, no sir. Not happy, not even a little bit. I didn’t answer the phone the first or second time. She called once and I figured I wasn’t going to answer. She called twice, three times, four times, I was like `Okay, this is going from she’s calling and laughing to she really thinks this is me.’ She started calling my brother, and when I picked the phone up, she just went off. She just went crazy.
“A lot of people have stories with smokers in their family, but we’ve got two aunts who passed away from lung cancer, just a terrible deal from smoking cigarettes, and man, Mom was not happy about that at all. Not at all.”
When asked who he fears more – his mother or the 15-6-2 Kongo – Barry spared no time admitting who he’d much rather fight.
“There is nothing anyone can bring that compares to Ma. I’ve had to deal with that; that’s been my biggest opponent my entire life. There is nothing that [Kongo] can do that she’s can’t times 30, and I’m willing to bet it’s the same way around the other way. If it came down to a fight between myself and his mother, he would definitely chose me because moms are the biggest killers in the world. Everybody knows that.”
Thankfully for him, the UFC has matched Barry up with Kongo in the co-main event of the fourth UFC Live event on Versus. It’s the biggest fight to date in Barry’s burgeoning MMA career, and the first bout for Kongo following back surgery. While the mammoth Frenchman is known as a striker, Barry believes we’ll see a different version of Kongo inside the cage on Sunday night.
“I would love to be able to say that we’ll see the Cheick Kongo from [before he had back surgery]; the one who would stand there and be the heavyweight striker that he’s known to be. But he’s turned into a ground-and-pound guy. I wouldn’t say he’s an elite striker in the heavyweight division anymore. He’s a guy that’s going to rush you into the cage, pull your feet out from under you, sit on top of you until you either quit or the ref stops the fight. That’s what he’s been doing his last few fights.
“He’s supposedly feeling 100 percent better now and he’s back to his old ways. But, now he’s standing across from me, and Cheick Kongo being the striker that he is, I guarantee you, will turn into a wrestler as soon as I throw punch either passed his head or I make contact. He’ll turn into a grappler really quick.
“We’re going to see the Cheick Kongo that we’ve been seeing if he’s allowed to enforce his will. We’re going to see the same Cheick Kongo we’ve been seeing for his last two, three, four fights, if he’s allowed to enforce his will. But, I think that there’s a good chance we’re gonna see a different Pat Barry also. I don’t know when, but I’m submitting somebody before this year is over.”