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Marc-André Barriault of Canada prepares for his middleweight bout against Abu Azaitar at the UFC Performance Institute on March 25, 2021 ahead of UFC 260: Miocic vs Ngannou 2 on March 27, 2021 in Las Vegas. (Photo by McKenzie Pavacich/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

Marc-André Barriault Knows He Belongs Here

In the moments directly after his TKO win at UFC 260, Marc-Andre Barriault looked into the camera and made a declaration.

“I belong here,” he stated.

After a tumultuous start to his UFC career, which included three losses and a win turned into a no contest, Barriault needed to win that fight with Abu Azaitar in the worst way. Not only did he need to prove to the UFC that he deserved to be competing with some of the best middleweights in the world, but he needed to prove to himself that he can succeed in the Octagon.

MORE UFC FIGHT NIGHT: Main Event Preview | Fight By Fight Preview | Derek Brunson Top Finishes | Darren Till Interview With John Gooden

“It was a stress relief,” Barriualt told UFC.com. “I’m known as a finisher so to get the job done, maybe at the end of the last round, but I still got job done, I felt more like myself. I did what I had to do and I’m very proud of myself.”

Seeing his victory as a chance to capture some momentum, Barriault bought an RV packed up his home and moved to Sanford MMA in Florida. Joining forces with Henri Hooft as well as the working with other high-level middleweights like Derek Brunson, Brendan Allen, Ian Heinisch and Phil Hawes felt like the best move to establish a new chapter in his game.

After just three months at Stanford, the 31-year-old French Canadian is confident that he made the right decision.

“Moving to Florida was a game changer for me. Everything is perfect, the structure and all the boys down there are very welcoming to me. I’m very grateful to be there,” Barriault said of his new team. “I finally have the perfect environment for me to develop all my skills and be the best version of myself.

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“It’s a whole process, a new journey. I see myself as a new breed,” he continues. “I focus a lot on the athlete, yes, but also on the human being because, at the end of the day, it’s me before everything else. I think that’s going to show up at UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Till.”

With Brunson headlining and fighting on the same card as him, Barriault feels like the energy inside the training room has elevated his game even more than he anticipated.

Patrick Côté Interviews Marc-André Barriault Ahead Of UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Till
Patrick Côté Interviews Marc-André Barriault Ahead Of UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs Till
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“It’s very inspiring to have a guy like Derek, we know it’s a huge fight for him,” Barriault said. “The energy day to day is through the roof, so I just keep everything like a sponge and I’m just ready to do my thing.”

The latest and greatest version of “Powerbar” will step into the Octagon against Dalcha Lungiambula. And even though Barriault was successful in his last fight, he doesn’t want to fight the way we saw him fight at UFC 260.

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“During the Azaitar fight maybe I was a little bit too passive, and I let the storm pass and we knew he wasn’t known for a good gas tank, and I have a good gas tank. So, I was just aware of his punches, and he came on strong like we expected, so this time I want to be more aggressive at the beginning and just do my thing,” Barriault said. “Like I said, I will be on fire right off the bat and I will just put on the pressure and let him know who I am and what kind of beast that I am. I think he will not be able to follow my pace and my pressure.”

Barriault is ready for a “big and strong” opponent in Lungiambula and expects that he will likely “throw some big shots at the beginning” but eventually fade due to Barriault’s cardio. Being patient and composed are two of Barriault’s best attributes, and once he feels the tide turning, he won’t let up.

“As soon as I have the chance,” Barriault said. “I will pick him apart and enjoy.”