Pat Barry addresses criticism of Rose Namajunas cornering at UFC 274, what went wrong with ‘perfect’ game plan


Pat Barry has heard the criticism directed at him and the rest of Rose Namajunas’ team.

Barry served as one of the cornermen and head coaches for Namajunas during UFC 274,, where “Thug” Rose lost her strawweight title against Carla Esparza in an extensively-panned match. Barry, who is also Namajunas’ fiance, reflected on the disappointing performance and addressed the criticism on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour, explaining that the game plan for Namajunas was to first draw Esparza into being the aggressor, then capitalize once she did. Barry believes that the game plan was effective even if there weren’t other obstacles when Namajunas attempted to turn the switch.

“If you make mistakes at this level, the consequences are pretty heavy. The consequences can be very heavy,” Barry stated to host Ariel Helwani of .The MMA Hour HTML1. We had a plan and we entered the fight prepared. Man, we have Carla memorized. Before she even does anything, we know what she will do. It’s clear what the plan looks like. We also know how to prevent it from happening and when we should attack. It is an excellent strategic game plan. We were there to win, just in case anyone was wondering. The plan was to win the fight. The plan was to do this thing in particular, and if you do this thing, people are going to start booing — they are going to start booing — but that’s only because they don’t know what’s going on. When they start to boo, Carla will open up and reveal the truth. That’s the game.

“In the fight, [Namajunas] did everything perfect, bro. Perfect. The UFC is my favorite organization. I have loved every aspect of it. But I will say, in the fight, there’s three moments — but there’s two in particular — where bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, here it comes, this is the time, and when Rose went to throw the punch, her foot slipped. And I saw that. I saw it. I saw her foot slide. My head went wild when I saw her foot slide. Barry said, “And when that opportunity came for the one thing we had trained for and it did again, she went — foot slip a second-time.”

” I love UFC, and all they do. But this fight is by far the most slippy you could ever face. Which, at that moment, when she had the opening for the kill, the second time, when she went for it and that foot slipped, I had a moment of clarity, man. I don’t know. Just all of a sudden I went from this crazy [demeanor] to completely just calm. The world seems to be trying to make it very hard for you. Evidently, there is something going on. Rose’s spirituality and our way of looking at the world, I think it is because something is going on. .”

Barry stated that he Namajunas had locked eyes with him in the cage after her second slip. Both women fought extremely defensively up until that point. The fight had been very dull. So the second slip simply reinforced in both Barry and Namajunas’ minds the importance of sticking to their game plan, rather than getting discouraged by the missed opportunities and doing something out frustration of that Namajunas would’ve regretted.

“As coaches, we are there to win the fights. Barry stated that we are there to provide happiness and longevity. “That’s what my job is, man. Not only am I a coach, but as a partner, fiance, whatever you want to label me as, that’s my job, is to make sure that Rose is happy, healthy, and safe for the rest of her life. In that moment I realized, “You know what?” This is one of those scenarios where now that you’ve seen it twice and you’ve missed it twice, this is exactly the type of thing that’s supposed to throw you off your game and make you come out of your strategy. If you don’t follow your strategy, or you just go for it and try hard, then you may slip, fall, and end up on the ground .’

“Now she’s on top of you and she’s got you in a scenario where you don’t want to be, and now you’ve got to battle yourself and you’ve got to battle Carla. And Carla is a two-time UFC world champion, which means she’s one of the best fighters on the planet.”

Barry pointed to past examples of Namajunas’ fights with Jessica Andrade as precedents for what can happen when “Thug Rose” loses focus. Namajunas was badly hurt in both bouts, including the brutal second-round slam knockout she suffered at UFC 237 that ended her first title reign. Namajunas was the dominant fighter in this fight before Andrade’s brutal slam.

Barry said the team’s goal for UFC 274 was too ensure that same lapse in focus didn’t affect Namajunas against Esparza. They just never expected her to execute the plan too well.

” Every time you look into Carla’s corner between rounds, Colin Oyama, her coach, can be heard saying what she was expecting. ‘Any moment now, she is going to break. Rose will do it. She does it and you’ll know what she did.” Barry stated. “She waited for Rose to do that thing that Rose does, and she was going to take advantage of it. We knew they were waiting. We knew. You don’t want to be in this situation where you just decide to start over and do whatever you like. It is important to maintain control.

“Now, where I blew it is all of the training to have control, all of the training that I did, all of the training that we put together, to stay in control of your emotions, stay in control of yourself — we never once went over how to come out of that. Because at the end of Round 4, myself, when I got in the ring, and people are going to have comments always, when I got in the ring, I pretty much said, ‘Hey man, I think we’re up 4-0. Feel free to let your hair down a bit and do what you want. It was impossible for her to perform that task in training camp.

“So now we get into the ring, we get into the fight, it’s about to start Round 5 and we’re pretty much saying, ‘Hey, we’ve seen what we need to see. You know exactly where you stand and the potential you have. You can open up now.’ And it was almost as if you could see Rose go, ‘Ah, ah, no, no, no. No, you’re trying to trick me.’ We’re not. When we told her to abandon the plan, she was determined to keep it. She stayed completely disciplined. Carla also remained completely disciplined throughout the whole time.

Namajunas lost to Esparza by a split decision in an event that was criticized as the worst UFC title fight ever.

Most of the criticism directed at Thug Rose, Barry and Trevor Wittman in recent days has been focused not just at them but at Barry. Some have also asked whether Namajunas might’ve been better off with Wittman more involved. Barry, however, said Wednesday that neither Barry nor any other member of the team are concerned with the noise outside.

“It’s fine,” Barry said. I’m okay with [what] what the rest of the world thinks about me. It’s not my fault. Pat, don’t talk. She shouldn’t think of herself as nothing. Everybody knows what I see more than me. I know what I’m looking at when I see — I know what I see when she’s in there, more than anybody. More than more than anybody, man. I’m 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like, I know what it is that I’m looking at. I know what it is that I feel. I know pretty much where Rose is at any point in time, based on her facial expression. People are going to say that, but those are the same people that I have to ask, like, what if Rose would’ve jumped in the air and started doing spin kicks and gotten taken down and crucifixed and elbowed in the face. What now?

“That’s why what the world says about Pat doesn’t matter to Pat. Rose doesn’t care about it, and Pat doesn’t. If it mattered to her, if it bothered her, what the world said, then that would probably be a thing. But it doesn’t.”