UFC heavyweight Pat Barry may have halted his two-fight losing streak with a brutal knockout of Christian Morecraft at the UFC on FX event in Nashville last Friday night, but he isn't letting the success go to his head just yet. It was, after all, the lone win in his last three trips inside the Octagon, as he reminded Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"I've been seeing the world say, 'There you go getting back on the winning track,' and 'You're back to your winning ways,'" Barry told Helwani. "I would like to say, let me win two in a row and then I'll feel like I'm on a winning track. As of right now, I just won a fight. That doesn't necessarily predict what's going to happen in the next fight."
What the victory over Morecraft did accomplish was to save Barry from the dreaded three-fight losing in the UFC, which is often the point when the organization will send a fighter packing. While Barry admitted to being "ridiculously nervous" heading into the fight in Nashville, he insisted it wasn't due to the losing streak or the potential consequences of adding to it.
"That's the state that I put myself into, just match-ready, knowing that anything could possibly happen."
What happened in the fight against Morecraft -- and what didn't happen in many of Barry's previous fights -- was that Barry kept his cool after getting taken down, fought off his opponent's submission attempts, and got back to his feet to deliver the deciding blow. The win showed significant improvement in Barry's overall game, but the mere fact that he got to demonstrate his defensive ground skills means he's still got a ways to go, he said.
"I was happy with what I did once I was already on the ground, like...staying poised, staying controlled, not panicking and being able to avoid submissions and getting back to my feet, but the one thing I wasn't happy with was the fact that I even hit the ground. I showed submission defense and I showed a better confidence on the ground, being under somebody, but I didn't execute the takedown defense like we had been planning on doing and the way we trained to do it."
Much of the credit for his gains on the ground go to his coaches and teammates at the Death Clutch gym in Minnesota, Barry said. While some fans seem to believe that the gym has folded up shop ever since its most famous member -- former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar -- announced his retirement, Barry insisted the rest of the team was "still marching forward; we're just down one man."
"We still have [Bellator heavyweight champion] Cole Konrad, and when you have a Cole Konrad, you don't really need much else," Barry added. "That dude is a monster."
According to Barry, the Death Clutch gym has turned out to be the perfect place to deal with his weaknesses as an MMA fighter -- namely staying on his feet and out of submissions in a division populated with much larger fighters.
"There's no secret to the flaws in my game. ...What I did was I went and found a gym that consists of giant wrestlers who all do [jiu-jitsu], and with [Rodrigo] 'Comprido' [Medeiros], a seven-time world champion who is a super-stud on the ground. So I found a room with a bunch of guys who are a lot bigger than I am, they all wrestle and they all do jiu-jitsu. ...What better thing [is there] for me to do?"
The work seems to have paid dividends for Barry in the win over Morecraft. One win might not be a streak, but at least it's a start.