On December 15, UFC Heavyweight Pat Barry earned Knockout of the Night for laying out Shane del Rosario in the second round of the fight. A few weeks later, Invicta FC Strawweight Rose Namajunas submitted Emily Kagan in her professional MMA debut and earned Submission of the Night. Put them both together and you have MMA’s most dangerous couple.
When the two joined the MMA Fight Corner prior to the 2012 World MMA Awards, they discussed their most recent wins and how they’ve managed to keep the balance of being fighters and maintaining a relationship at the same time.
Barry’s most recent win was at The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale. Following the win, he gave a heartfelt speech to the victims of the Connecticut elementary school shooting that had happened days before the fight. Apparently, Pat received some flack from the social media universe for doing so.
“I’ve gotten so much critique, it’s bad critique, but not bad the way you think at first. People were saying ‘Hey man, we’re sick of your post-fight speeches that trump however you just beat somebody. We were trying to enjoy your knockout and soon as you start talking, everybody forgets about the fight’,” Barry said. “I’ve gotten more fan mail based on what I said. No one’s talking about ‘Hey good punch, but what you said afterward just touched them’.”
A former kickboxer known for his power-punches, Barry’s submission and ground game has often been criticized. Though Rose said that Pat actually taught her a submission, Barry’s worked to improve his game in all areas. “My ground game isn’t as horrible as the world may think. If you’re 140 pounds or down, I’m actually pretty good. But I’m getting better at rolling around with the big guys.”
“It’s actually kind of funny because his jiu jitsu is so wrong sometimes that it actually works,” Rose said of his ground game. “Like he’ll actually give you an arm so he can get back on top, so it’s kind of interesting in that way.”
“That’s how it’s been, you have to be either completely great, or you have to be completely horrible to be dangerous. I know some guys that are so bad at striking that one, you can’t hit ‘em, and two, they can hit you with things that you’re not necessarily going to avoid because its like ‘that can’t possibly hurt’, but it’ll blow your head off. The one-two will not do anything to you, but if they go ‘hah’ you’re dead meat. I mean, you can be so bad that you can be dangerous. My ground game has consisted of, it’s by doing everything wrong that I’ve been able to get away with certain things,” Barry said. “When people do awkward things it can be dangerous.”
Pat’s number one lady, Rose Namajunas earned her first professional win via submission and he was there cornering her. Though he was frenetically shouting while crushing the life out of a water bottle, it was easy to see that Pat was more hyped than anyone for her debut.
“One of the greatest things that ever happened, the greatest parts of my career ever, has been with Rose standing right next to me. She’s there for me more than mom, more than anybody. She’s the number one there. She’s the first person I’m thinking about when I’m stepping in. She’s the first person I’m thinking about as I’m getting punched. The first person I’m thinking about when I wake up. I’m always asking for her advice, for tips, just what does she think. She’s helped me train so much.
“And then when she’s training for her fights, just to be able to watch her go through everything, the ups and downs and all the roller coasters that the rest of the world has no idea about – they think they know, the punching and kicking that’s easy, that’s the easy part. It’s getting there, that’s the battle and struggle and just watching her, seeing what she’s going through, I’m figuring myself out watching her because it’s right there 24 hours a day,” Pat said.
“People are always surprised that we can separate our relationship in a business manner especially. He’s pretty much like my coach, my boyfriend, my everything, like all at once,” Namajunas said of trying to maintain the balance of it all. “It’s kind of a game we have to play to try and separate each role at the right time. There’s a time and a place for everything. But I couldn’t imagine being with somebody that didn’t, us as fighters we kind of, we’re different people. I think us both being fighters, we get to understand each other in a way that other people don’t understand.”
So what’s next for MMA’s power couple? Rose has high expectations to fight on the Invicta FC 5 card coming up in April.
“If you’re not supporting Invicta, then you need to get out of my face. The fact that the stream exploded because too many people tried to buy it, that’s awesome,” Barry said.
As for Pat, he’s happy to revel in his KO of the night for just a little while.
“If you followed my track record in the UFC, it’s win, lose, win, lose, win, lose. I’m coming off of one hell of a win. I don’t know if I want to have the next fight,” Pat joked.