Ronny Markes takes on Josh Barnett in the main event of Bellator 235, or Bellator USO Salute to the Troops. The bout takes place Friday, December 20, and opponent Barnett is someone that Markes thinks highly of. Markes’ Bellator journey leads him to the Pride/UFC/ Strikeforce monolith of violence in what will be both men’s debut for the promotion. Speaking to Cageside Press ahead of the bout, he stated, “Legend in this sport. In the time I started to train, I’d seen a lot of fights with Josh in Pride. I’m so happy because he’s a legend. For me, it’s my pleasure to fight him. I’m waiting for this fight and winning his fight.”
Though Markes is respectful of Barnett, he doesn’t feel the former UFC heavyweight champion will want to go to the mat with him. Markes stated, “I’m of a real belief that he won’t try the grappling. I’m Brazilian black belt too. I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu my whole life and I’m a real believer in my skills. He’s not coming to grapple me.”
Ronny Markes is more than a BJJ black belt though, and has been honing his skills all around. “I’m from Nova Uniao. I’ve trained my whole life there,” said Markes. “I don’t train much grappling at Xtreme Couture. Only go there for more MMA and the striking. I train grappling with Robert Drysdale and I train with Vinny Magalhaes.” There’s great energy training with Ray Sefo as well. The K1 legend has improved his striking in a big way.
Ronny Markes is locked in on Barnett but does have goals if he gets the ideal outcome here.
“I don’t like to talk to the future,” the Brazilian fight said. “But for me, I know Ryan Bader is busy right now. I think he’s going to defend his light-heavyweight belt…. After I win here, I think me and Cheick Kongo. Maybe interim belt. Because Cheick Kongo is the number one contender right now…. In my opinion, he didn’t do anything wrong against Cheick Kongo. I think Check Kongo is a little sh*tty. I don’t see Ryan Bader do nothing wrong. Cheick Kongo’s a good fight.”
The move to heavyweight has been yielding a lot of benefits for Markes who has largely competed at light-heavyweight as well as middleweight. On this topic, Markes said, “First time in my life I’m training whole camp and eating every single day. Three or four times a day. Before that, I had a lot of stress. I sign the contract, I need to think about my cut weight and my diet. And this time it’s different. I’m happy.”
Bellator 235/Bellator USO takes place Friday, December 20 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The event airs live on Paramount Network.