UFC Star Shares How Dancing Got Him Into MMA at 340 Pounds After an Epic Bender

UFC, Chris Barnett

Getty Chris Barnett celebrates after defeating Gian Villante.

UFC star Chris Barnett detailed how dancing on a night out got him into mixed martial arts.

Barnett is coming off a win over Jake Collier at UFC 279 earlier this month. Collier got off to a strong start, knocking down Barnett in the opening round. Barnett showed incredible heart to pull off a comeback in the second round when he earned a victory by TKO. The way he rallied from behind, along with his celebrations, instantly made him a fan favorite.

In an appearance on “Food Truck Diaries” with Brendan Schaub, Barnett reflected on the win and shared his journey to becoming a professional MMA fighter.

“(Vasiliy) Lomachenko’s dad wouldn’t let him start boxing until he learned how to dance actually,” Barnett said. “So, yeah that’s always been my come-up,” Barnett said. “Actually, my story, that’s how I got into MMA was (from dancing). I was at a club in Tampa, dancing at Peabody’s. We were in there dancing, getting our breakdancing on, everything.

“You gotta think we’re in a club in Tampa so these dudes roll up, ‘you got some fight moves?’ I was like, ‘hey, alright hang on this is going to end one or two ways.’ They just saw the belly up there moving on the floor, that was it. It was something when I popped and did like a little kick and he was like, ‘that guy knows martial arts.’ So, he ran up on me, had these little flyers, and was like, ‘hey, I see you know a little bit of martial arts. I just want to hand you this, tomorrow we’re going to have a tryout, show up.’”


Barnett Revealed That He Was About 340 Pounds at the Time

‘Beastboy’ revealed that he was hammered when he received the offer of the tryouts. He was also tipping the scales at about 340 pounds at the time, making him a suitable option for the freak fight promotion.

“I’m at least 10 shots in,” Barnett continued. “We’re done, what dance moves he saw were probably a bunch of drunken kung fu, that’s probably what he saw. It was MMA tryouts for XFC.

“They were based out of Tampa, they were known for having, not freak shows but I remember Dan McGee, the big tall giant dude. He fought Jonathan Ivy, who was like my height. They had those kinds of fights going on, you know what I mean. They brought me out… at the time I was 340 or 320 pounds.”


Barnett Avoided Getting Caught Hungover at the Tryouts

With only two hours between the club and the tryouts, Barnett narrowly avoided getting caught hungover when a stroke of luck worked in his favor.

“We are all out there doing these drills and stuff,” Barnett added. “As I mentioned, we were at the club. I left the club at four o’clock and the tryouts were at six. I show up, two of the coaches, we’re doing drills, he goes, ‘somebody been drinking?’ I was like, ‘yeah that guy, it was him over there.’ I wanted to tell him it was me but the look this guy was giving, he was like this is unacceptable. I got saved by this little dude, he was I think a 135er. He out of nowhere just threw up and I was like, ‘yeah, he’s definitely been drinking. Look at him, he’s gotta go.’”

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