Bryan Barberena: You Have To Walk Before You Run

But the 34-year-old is confident that his career is far from over. Since his last fight in July of 2023, he opened up his own gym and started doing cross training with other gyms. Those sessions, combined with ample time off, allowed Barberena to work on what he wanted to work on and truly make sure the best version of himself was stepping into that Octagon versus Meerschaert.

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“I’ve had some exciting fights with some great people,” Barberena told UFC.com. “Some veterans and former champions. I don’t really put anybody on a pedestal or let it get to me mentally. There are definitely fights I enjoy more than others because I know what they bring to the table and the opportunity that’s available. I think there have been great moments in my career and I’m looking forward to having a lot more.”

To have more big moments, Barberena needs to get back in the win column. He’s on a three-fight skid, and his last loss, which came in his UFC middleweight debut, made him take some time off to level up.

“After this last one it was like, ‘OK, maybe we need to take a step back,’” Barberena said. “Definitely refocus, work on improving, getting better, and really taking the next step. I moved up to 185 pounds the last fight and I’m still at 185 pounds. I definitely wanted to build more into the weight class and get a better feel for it.

“I think I did that in the off time. I think I really got a lot better.”

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