Nick Barnes admits the pressure is on heading into his LFA 45 main event tilt against Erick Silva. But he also knows a win could be his ticket into the UFC.
Cabazon, California — Nick Barnes has a not inconsiderable task ahead of him Friday night at LFA 45. In the evening’s main event, Barnes (12-3), a.k.a. ‘The Phoenix,’ will take on former UFC standout Erick Silva. It’s the kind of fight the boosts you to the next level. A high-level, name value opponent. Even on a downslide, Erick Silva is still a name fans, and promotions, recognize.
You see where this is going. Barnes could very well be looking at his ticket to the UFC. And with that comes pressure, something the welterweight admitted when speaking to Cageside Press ahead of Friday’s bout.
“There’s definitely that pressure. Getting an opponent like this, you always feel that pressure, especially knowing where he’s come from,” Barnes told us. “But I’m the kind of guy who welcomes that pressure. I don’t run from it, I’m excited about it. I’m excited to test myself against his skills, and come out on top.” A true mixed martial artist, in other words.
“I’m waiting for that big wave to come, and I’m waiting to ride it.”
And a cerebral fighter. He knows Silva will be prone to come out a little more aggressive in his debut, looking to make a statement. It’s no big secret — Silva basically told us the same. “Looking at it from his perspective, he just left the UFC, he’s in this new organization, it’s his debut,” Barnes outlined. “So he’s going to come out hot. He wants to make a name for himself in this new show. So with that in mind, I’m expecting that, I’m waiting for that big wave to come, and I’m waiting to ride it.”
He could ride it to the UFC. “Every fight, I’m looking at it like this is a pivotal point in my career,” Barnes said. “I never look over an opponent. Every fight I had in the past, whether it’s a small show, big show, to me that fight is going to get me to the next level, where I want to be. But now, as of recent fights, that’s becoming very clear. Because people I’ve lost to, they’re in the UFC right now.” Among them, Curtis Millender and Jesse Taylor. Add in Brian Camozzi, and all three of Barnes’ losses went on to go to (or return to) the UFC.
“Looking at my resume — each one of those guys got those step ups after me,” he explained. “So I’d be foolish to not think that after I get a good W here, that I’m not going to be on the next level. So that’s my eye on the prize. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
LFA 45 takes place Friday, July 20 at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, California.