It’s not easy to get your share of the spotlight when you’re fighting on the same card as Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano. Maybe that’s why Phil Baroni and Joey Villasenor decided to turn up the heat in a recent conference call. The hell of it is, it might even work if they keep after each other like this:
Question: Joey, do you think you have the advantage in overall technique?
Villasenor: I think my overall game is improving daily. I have power with movement. It’s about executing. Overall, we all know that Baroni has stand?up power, but I’m going to try to expose him with my movement. So, it’s just all about executing.
Baroni: Basically to sum it up, Villasenor is going to run. He basically just said that he (will) bring his track shoes and chase me. He’s going to run. It doesn’t matter because in the cage you can run, but you can’t hide. I’m going to find you, I’m going to hit and everyone’s going to think about you.
Oh, Baroni. We can always count on you to make statements that are at once inflammatory and also kind of unclear. For instance, first saying Villasenor will run and then saying he will chase you. I’m no physics expert, but if Villasenor is chasing wouldn’t that mean Baroni would be the one running?
And what does he mean when he says that he’s going to hit and everyone will “think about” Villasenor? Does he mean people will feel bad for him? Or does he mean that people will really think about him in an existential sense? Or does even Baroni have no idea what he meant? I don’t know, but fortunately they didn’t end on that cliffhanger.
Baroni: You are going to get knocked out, kid. Your best isn’t going to be big enough. The bottom line is this is my coming home party, and you’re the victim.
Villasenor: Your coming out party, Phil? You’ve been out for a while. You’ve been exposed for a while. I’ll just have to show everybody on national television and expose you, expose you at home, expose you in front of everybody. I’m excited to get the opportunity.
I respect you, man. I respect the power you’ve got. But it’s coming. It’s coming. You know it’s coming. I don’t need to talk trash. You know what’s coming. That’s all there is to it.
Baroni: I ain’t talking trash. I’m stating the facts, dude. I’m going to smash you and you’ll get hurt real bad. Be ready. Try your best. Your best is not going to be good enough, and we’ll send you back to Nashville.
Villasenor: You’re getting me even more excited for this. I’m pumped. This is just what I needed. I needed somebody to talk trash to me. This is the first time in 30 fights that I’ve had somebody treat me this way. Hey, thanks for the motivation.
First off, yes Phil, you are talking trash. If you do indeed “smash” Villasenor, then it will be a fact. Second, there’s something about Villasenor’s reaction that seems both genuine and a little naive. He knew who Baroni was, right? Of course the guy’s going to talk trash. He’s the only 10-9 fighter in MMA who, without any sense of irony, refers to himself as “the best eva.” Did Villasenor really expect a gentlemanly banter?
Regardless, it may be a cheap way to drum up hype and it may be the oldest trick in the book, but it survives because it works. Now that there seems to be a little bad blood, this fight just got that much more interesting.