Just two weeks ago, when Daniel Rodriguez pulled out of a scheduled fight with Gunnar Nelson, Brian Barberena stepped in to save the day.
Barberena lost to Rafael Dos Anjos less than two months ago, while his opponent Gunnar Nelson defeated Takashi Sato at the last UFC London event.
Despite the loss, Barberena has thrilled fans with his tenacious fighting style. While he’s had some stellar performances over the years, he still hasn’t had a nightly bonus performance, something he’s still working toward.
“We’re always going for a clean show, but I’m not afraid of a dirty, muddy fight. I work hard and shine in those areas. Well, I’m fine with that, I’m excited about it, but I’ll still be chasing the night Acting, because I haven’t acted yet, so we’re still working on it,” he said.
He won the fight of the night against Robbie Lawler in July 2022, but did not receive a $50,000 performance bonus.
“I got ‘Fight of the Night’ for it, and I thought I’d definitely get the performance, but it also happens to be the best fight on the card,” Barberena said.
Barberena recently moved to North Carolina full-time to be closer to Gym-O, the gym he trains at. The 33-year-old explained that traveling back and forth away from his family was too emotionally taxing before moving there full-time.
“I’m tired of traveling through the toughest part of combat camp, away from the family that means the most to me. It’s hard, it takes a lot of emotional and physical toll on me, and I feel better when they’re around Well, I obviously had my near-death days and didn’t get to be here today, but thank god I’m lucky that when they told me I probably couldn’t make it, he wanted me to stay here and keep fighting.
“It’s another reason to bring them closer to me. I think right now having them with me, having them at camp, seeing them come home in the morning, being with them at night, I’m the best version of myself. You It just took me to the next level,” Barberena said.
Watch the entire media day panel with Bryan Barberena above. He takes on Gunnar Nelson at UFC 286 at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.