UFC 286: Bryan Barberena Says Move To North Carolina Made Him ‘Best Version’ Of Himself

Bryan Barberena stepped in to save the day just over two weeks ago when Daniel Rodriguez pulled out of his scheduled fight with Gunnar Nelson.

Barberena is coming off a loss to Rafael Dos Anjos just under two months ago whereas his opponent, Gunnar Nelson, is coming off a win over Takashi Sato at the last UFC London event.

Despite the losses though, Barberena is someone who fans get excited to watch due to his tenacious fight style. Although he has put on some terrific performances over the years, he is still yet to win a performance of the night bonus, something he is still striving for.

“We’re always after clean performances but i’m not scared of a dirty, muddy fight. I strive and shine in those areas. That’s fine I’m okay with it I’m excited about it but i’m still going after that performance of the night because I’ve not had one yet so we’re still going for it.” he said.

His fight with Robbie Lawler back in July 2022 won Fight Of The Night, but didn’t come with a $50k performance bonus.

“I got Fight Of The Night for that, I thought for sure I was getting performance but it so happened that it was the best fight on the card too.” Barberena said.

Barberena has recently made the full time move to North Carolina to be closer to the gym he trains at, Gym-O. The 33-year-old explained that before moving there full time, it was too emotionally taxing leaving his family and going back and forth.

“I’m sick of travelling its the hardest part of fight camp, being away from my family who are most important to me. It’s hard, it puts a lot of wear on me emotionally and physically, I’m better when they’re around. I obviously went through almost dying not making it to be here today, but thank god i’m blessed he wanted to keep me here and to continue fighting when they told me i probably wont be able to.

“That was another reason to get them closer to me. I think having them there with me now and having them in camp, beign able to see them in the morning come home and be with them on the night, I am the best version of myself. You’re just getting me on a higher level.” Barberena said.

Watch the entire media day scrum with Bryan Barberena above. He takes on Gunnar Nelson at UFC 286 on Saturday night in London at The O2 Arena.