Five years ago, top kick boxer Pat Barry gave up the sport to transition into MMA. The former K-1 fighter soon made it into the UFC and used his elite striking skills in the world's top MMA promotion ever since.
After losing two straight in the UFC last year, however, Barry asked the UFC for his release and decided to go back into professional kickboxing. K-1 is pretty much dead and gone, but Glory has stepped up in the past year and become the top kickboxing promotion in the world.
It was Glory's emergence that encouraged Barry to leave MMA and go back to his roots. "HD" Barry tells Cagewriter that he always knew he'd go back to kickboxing.
"I always knew I’d come back," he says.
"Kickboxing didn’t die, but if you didn’t want to do it for $200 a fight in a bar, it wasn’t an option any more, for awhile. Now Glory has come along and provided a new professional avenue for top kick boxers."
About a month ago, Barry took a warm up kickboxing bout and was successful with a knockout (clip below). On Saturday, Barry will make his Glory debut, fighting in his new home of Denver. The colorful KO artist tells us that he's been having the time of his life being back in a strictly kickboxing training camp.
"I'm elated," he says.
"It feels great."
The 34 year-old isn't back in kickboxing just for thrills, however. He wants to become the heavyweight champion.
"I want that Glory belt," he says.
"I never got to be K-1 champion and I really want to be champion now. I'm not getting ahead of myself, I know I need to win one fight at a time but the end-goal is becoming the best."
Though Barry had an accomplished MMA career, fighting the best in the world and walking away with many wins, we wonder out loud to him if he feels he could have done even better had he simply "loved" it as he does kickboxing. "It’s not that I didn’t love MMA – I did," he clarifies.
"I just loved kickboxing more. It’s like having a great meal at a restaurant. You might love it, it might be excellent but if you ask me if I prefer that or my mom’s home cooking, I’m going with mom’s home cooking every time."