It's so hard not to love Pat Barry, be it as a fan or a member of the media.
He's funny, he's engaging, he's humble and he's always willing to talk about the latest goings-on in the MMA world. Barry is a fun-loving personality. He's one of the few fighters that actually remind us that fighting can be fun. It shows out of the cage when he poses for the camera, and it shows in the cage when he calls a timeout to give Mirko Cro Cop a hug.
There's a very big problem with that, though.
Fighters like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and Jose Aldo aren't beloved because of their personalities. They're beloved because they win.
Sure, other fighters' personalities have added followers to their Twitter accounts. Forrest Griffin, Chael Sonnen, Ronda Rousey, Rashad Evans, etc., are more popular courtesy of their attitudes or actions. All of them, though, achieved fame first and foremost by beating people up.
Now, Pat Barry is at a crossroads. He needs to win.
He really needs to win.
He is 4-5 in his UFC career. Worse yet, he is 1-3 in his last four fights. Very, very few fighters have survived going 1-4 over five-fight stretches. If they have, it's because they have been popular in international markets (Zhang Tiequan and Dan Hardy being the best examples).
Barry, though popular, would probably not be extended that courtesy.
As with his personality, Pat Barry's wins and losses have been big, emphatic and decisive. He's had fearsome knockouts, and he's been fearsomely knocked out. When he wins, he gives fighters major beatdowns. When he loses, it tends to be in decisive fashion.
He has fought a disproportionate number of strikers, which has led to brawl after brawl after brawl, and Shane del Rosario doesn't buck this trend. Del Rosario is a well-accomplished kickboxer, with an 11-1 MMA record and precisely zero fights that have gone to decision. He lost to Stipe Miocic in his UFC debut but beat Lavar Johnson in Strikeforce. (Johnson, by the way, knocked out Pat Barry in May.)
Worse yet, Shane del Rosario is a big dude. The kind that historically tends to beat Barry.
Because of that, Pat Barry is in a tough spot, and his future in the UFC is, at best, uncertain. As a fighter who has never had a winning streak in the UFC, it would have made sense on-paper for Barry to get the axe after losing to Lavar Johnson. Hell, the UFC cut barry's former teammate Jon Madsen after going 4-1 in the promotion.
So yes. Obviously, Pat Barry needs a win.
If he doesn't beat Shane del Rosario, his walking papers will likely be punched right back to K-1. Because, once again, the UFC will tolerate many things, but losing tends to not be among them.
The fact we're even having this discussion is a testament to Barry's well-deserved popularity. But again, popularity based on personality in a results-driven business only buys you so many chances.
This is his last chance. He needs this win.