Bellator 254: Ronny Markes Still Interested in Barnett Fight

Ronny Markes has been waiting to make his Bellator MMA debut for the better part of a year. It looks as if that will finally happen this Thursday at Bellator 254, with Markes facing Linton Vassell.

That’s after fights with both Josh Barnett and Matt Mitrione fell through over the past twelve months or so. “I feel a little sad because the fights don’t happen twice, but I can’t do nothing for this,” the Brazilian said during the Bellator 254 media day on Tuesday.

“Right now I have the opportunity to fight Linton, I’m so happy for that, and waiting for Thursday night,” he added.

The 32-year old Brazilian, a former UFC heavyweight, last fought under the PFL banner in June 2019. And despite a number of fights falling through, he’d still like one of them back.

“Of course Josh Barnett,” he told Cageside Press on Tuesday. “Right now, my focus is on Linton. He’s a very talented fighter. He challenged twice at light heavyweight.” That, Markes noted, is no small feat. “It’s hard to fight for the title one time in a big promotion, because they have a lot of killers there. And he did that twice. He’s a very tough dude.”

That having been said, Markes is still very interested in fighting Josh Barnett. “In the future, I’d really like to fight Barnett. Because a lot of fans send messages asking when I’m going to fight him again. I say ‘I don’t know, ask Bellator, or the commission.'”

Markes added he doesn’t know Barnett’s situation at the moment. “The Warmaster” was previously pulled from his fight with Markes due to failing a medical requirement under the Mohegan Sun athletic commission. But Barnett has since competed in Bare-Knuckle boxing, and presumably remains under contract to Bellator.

For now, Markes presses onward with a different fight. And he’ll be competing without fans for the first time. An opportunity he’s not exactly savoring. “Always I prefer fans. The crowd I think is better for the fight, they push you,” said Markes. “It’s nice for the show. But I understand the situation right now, and I need to follow the rules.”

Watch the full Bellator 254 virtual media day press scrum with Ronny Markes above. Bellator 254 goes down this Thursday, December 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main card airs live on CBS Sports Network following prelims that can be found on Cageside Press.