It was a solid effort to break a two-fight slide and get Nelson back in the right direction, but Barberena expects him to be even better when they step into the Octagon together on Saturday night.
“Being familiar with the dismissals, I thought he looked good; he did what it took to win. I think he played more on the cautious, reserved side, and now that he has the wet feet, I think he’ll come out more ready to shoot, but it’s hard to tell with him, I’ve been with him for a long time, he’s a great fighter, but he’s extremely calm and reserved.
“I think he’s going to be better than his last performance,” he added. “I know that, and being paired with me, I think that plays into what his game plan was already going to be, but I think I’m a completely different fighter to ‘D-Rod’ and he’s going to have to make some adjustments on the fly.
After the disappointment and frustration of his fight against Dos Anjos last year, Barberena was eager to get back in the cage and make amends – for the fans, for the UFC and for himself.
It took constantly volunteering whenever an opening arose and persisting in wanting to get back to it quickly, but eventually an opportunity presented itself, and now the blue-collar has packed up his overalls again and gone to do what he does his best – fight in fist.
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“People know what to expect when I get there; I think I solidified that,” he said proudly. “People know and I think the UFC knows that I’m a throwing guy, and I’m guaranteed fireworks. I’m going to challenge every person who stands in front of me, and whether I win or lose will be decided in there.
“But I think everyone knows who I am and I want to go out there and have a fire fight, a fight; make it something that everyone likes to watch and that I like to do.
And once this one is over, he’ll be straight to the farm, back to the gym, and back to raising his hand for every opportunity that comes his way because that’s just who he is.
“I look forward to continuing to put on entertaining shows, and with that comes opportunity,” he said. “When opportunities arise, it’s best to jump on them as quickly as possible, that way I can shine and show what I’ve been working on.
“So you can bet that after spending some family time, I’ll be back real soon.” There is always someone out there that I will fight.