Legendary underground hero and UFC hype machine Sean McCorkle really said it best after losing a fight to Stefan Struve late last year:
“I'd like to have the worst heavyweight in the UFC. Unless that's me, then I'd like to have the second-worst heavyweight in the UFC.”
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva’s response? He booked McCorkle a date with Christian Morecraft. It turned out that Morecraft was no less than second-worst though, as the burly Washington native choked McCorkle unconscious in March and sent him packing from the UFC.
Now, it’s not fair to say Morecraft is the worst heavyweight in the UFC. He’s won fights in the promotion, and shown toughness and some evolution in his young game to this point. Having 265-pound guys hurling strikes at your head isn’t easy, and it doesn’t take much for you to look bad if one of them connects.
However, when he faces Pat Barry at UFC on FX 1 in January, there will be a definitive McCorklian feel to the fight. If Barry can’t beat Christian Morecraft, he’ll be done in the UFC.
Barry’s journey has been fascinating to this point in his MMA career, which has seen him make the jump from K-1 kickboxing into the world’s top mixed martial arts promotion. He’s gone from not aggressive enough, to too aggressive, to not skilled enough on the ground, to overconfident there, and back again.
It’s been incredible to see him bounce all over the place, wrecking people in one fight and then looking totally lost in his next.
No one can say he hasn’t been entertaining though, as, win or lose, he’s only been to a decision once, against hard-headed Joey Beltran. One can hope that such a tendency to put on a show will keep him around, as the division isn’t deep and it’s heavy on guys with sloppy standup and a plodding style. Barry’s dynamic attack, while one-dimensional, is fun to watch.
Plus he’s been victimized by surprise losses in fights that were sure wins on two occasions, to Mirko Cro Cop and Cheick Kongo. He could easily be 5-2 in the UFC instead of a pedestrian 3-4, so maybe there’s some latitude there.
At the end of the day though, a loss to Morecraft would be tough to overcome. He’s not exactly setting the world on fire himself, and Barry would be on a three-fight skid—only 6-5 in MMA overall.
Despite his affable nature and popularity, there is no more justification to keep him than there is to let him go to the regional circuit and get a bit better. Dana White has said plenty of times that the UFC is no place to learn MMA, and unfortunately that’s what Pat is doing.
All Pat Barry can hope for is another good performance that ends up in a win for him. He’s got karma on his side after losing some close ones that were within his grasp, and with the right matchmaking he can be a guy that fans will always look forward to seeing on a card.
He’s got to get by Morecraft first though, or they’ll be looking forward to seeing him in Shark Fights or Titan FC by next summer.
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