Pat Barry takes on Zack Mwekassa at Glory 16 on Saturday. | TJ De Santis/Sherdog.com
When Pat Barry announced his decision to leave the UFC Octagon this past January, it seemed only a matter of time before the K-1 veteran returned to his roots and stepped back into a ring.
At Saturday’s Glory World Series 16 at the 1stBank Center in Denver, Barry’s kickboxing career will again take center stage in a heavyweight bout against Zack Mwekassa. “HD” will look to build off a knockout win recorded over Ed Burris last month, a fight that Barry claims served an important purpose in his combat sports transition.
“The ring rust was only [noticeable] during the first round of the last fight I had. Five years of training for MMA meant that I had to alter everything. I sat there on the stool in between rounds, and it all came rushing back to me. Prior to this fight I didn’t believe in ring rust,” Barry recently told Sherdog.com. “That’s why I wanted to have that first fight before getting booked in Glory. I didn’t want to have a round like that in the World Series promotion. I didn’t want to get rid of the ring rust on May 3.”
With the semifinals of Glory’s heavyweight contender tournament also set for Saturday, the 34-year-old is aware that fighting a second time that night is a real possibility. If successful against Mwekassa, Barry would be on deck if one of the other four competitors cannot compete in the main event due to injury.
“I can tell you that I am not 100 percent ready for that, but I 100 percent want it and am interested in that,” Barry said. “The tournament style of fighting is some real man s---. To have to fight multiple times in one night and to be able to do it successfully says a lot about you. To me, that is one of the coolest parts about kickboxing. You really learn a lot about yourself. To have to endure an adrenaline dump and then get up and fight 30 minutes later, it’s just crazy.”
When Barry signed with Glory earlier this year, he found himself reunited with friend and former opponent Mirko Filipovic. The two fought previously at UFC 115 in 2010 and since have formed a friendship outside the cage, though they have both come to grips with the possibility that they could once again do battle under the Glory banner.
“I have flown out to Croatia two or three times to help Mirko train for his fights. We keep in contact regularly. It isn’t just talking about fighting either. We have become genuine friends. He is really happy that I have transitioned back to kickboxing,” Barry said. “We both know that there is a high possibility we could face each other in Glory. The higher you go in the sport, the less space there is for people. If you are at the top, which is where we both want to be, we are bound to fight one another.”
Glory recently announced plans to stage its first pay-per-view event at The Forum in Los Angeles on June 21. Barring any serious injury or setback, Barry would love to be part of the promotion’s pay-to-watch debut.
“I have to walk through Zack [Mwekassa] first,” said Barry. “Let me put it like this, if I was completely healthy after Saturday, then yes, I would be down to fight at Glory 17. It would be great to be a part of it.”