For Bryan Barberena, it’s the UFC or bust.
Barberena was one of the standout performers at Saturday’s UFC Columbus show as he went toe-to-toe with Ohio’s own Matt Brown for three rounds to earn a split nod and his share of the evening’s Fight of the Night award. After the fight, “Bam Bam”, who was preparing to retire from the UFC on a new contract, revealed that it was the last fight of his current contract.
” I’m glad that [the Brown fight] took place because it is my last fight under contract,” Barberena stated. “I haven’t been open about that, but this is the last fight on my contract. The UFC didn’t say anything about renegotiating. I tried to ask about it.
“Dana White, let’s talk. It would be a great honor to continue fighting. I’d love to keep putting on shows. I won’t fight elsewhere. If you decide that this is the case, and don’t wish me to fight any more, it’s fine. I’ll let them go. If that is the case, I would have put my hands in the octagon. Otherwise, I would love to continue putting on shows .”
Barberena and Brown were originally scheduled to fight this past December, but Brown withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19. Darian Weeks (a UFC rookie) was the replacement for Brown, which Barberena won unanimously. Barberena now has two wins in a row and three victories from his four previous fights.
In 14 UFC appearances, Barberena owns an 8-6 record. Barberena, a veteran welterweight, was asked whether he would consider quitting if the UFC did not offer him a deal. He doubled his answer.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Barberena said. “No, I’d be done. Me and my wife talk about this a lot. UFC is where I want. That was my goal all along. I am excited about it, and I enjoy being with them. I love being in front of these fans, it’s the biggest organization out there, the best organization out there as far as I’m concerned. You know what, they don’t want me to put on shows anymore. If they don’t want me to come out and put on shows anymore I’ll hang ’em up and I’ll go spend my daily at the farm with the family and work on building that.”
Though Barberena was hoping that the UFC would negotiate with him earlier rather than allow him to fight his contract, he says he felt no pressure heading into Saturday’s bout even with free agency looming.
Should he get his wish and ink a new UFC deal soon, he’s open to any opponent next, though he did mention a former welterweight champion as a preferred possibility.
” “Honestly, Robbie Lawler would be the next person that I’d like to fight,” Barberena stated. I think it would make an amazing matchup. I’d love to test myself against him. He’s one of those guys who brings it and I’m a fan of him.
“There are tons of other matches out there. There’s a bunch of guys that come and throw it down. I believe there’s a lot to choose from. However, I won’t turn down anyone. Whoever name comes on that contract, you can count on me saying, ‘Yes.'”
Damon Martin contributed to this report on site.