Following his official release from Strikeforce yesterday, Phil Baroni confirmed today that he has signed a new multi-fight contract with the UFC and will compete in the promotion's stacked welterweight division. Baroni made the announcement on MMAjunkie.com Radio.
"I just signed and sent my contract back to the UFC," said Baroni in the interview.
Strikeforce put out a press release yesterday about Baroni's release, where Founder and CEO, Scott Coker had this to say,“We wish Phil the best of luck and hope he can revive his career. If he can, maybe one day, he can return and fight for us.”
Baroni claims that he wasn't cut and simply declined to negotiate a deal that would have him fight in the organization's Challengers series events, with a potential fight against Erik Apple.
Strikeforce's posturing seems to be a feeble attempt at a strike against the UFC.
Baroni went 0-2 in just two fights with Strikeforce. In his debut he was defeated by MMA legend Frank Shamrock for the promotion's first-ever middleweight title in June 2007. Most recently he suffered a unanimous decision loss to Joe Riggs at "Lawler vs. Shields" this past June.
The loss to Riggs was Baroni's first since dropping down to welterweight. He'd won three straight in his first three bouts at the weight, including a win over Olaf Alfonso. Baroni decided to leave the middleweight division after a three-fight losing streak in June 2007 to May 2008 including a loss to Joey Villasenor at EliteXC: "Primetime" in the first U.S. network-televised MMA event.
In his first stint with the UFC from February 2001 to February 2005, he compiled a 3-5 record as a middleweight , with wins over Curtis Stout, Amar Suloev and Dave Menne. Baroni suffered two losses each in the promotion to both Evan Tanner and Matt Lindland and also dropped a loss to Pete Sell at UFC 51 in 2005 which lead to his dismissal from the UFC.
Overall in his 9-year year, Baroni has put together a 13-11 MMA record, with 9 wins coming by stoppage. He's garnered notable wins over Ikuhisa Minowa, Ryo Chonan and Yuki Kondo and has fought for an array of promotions during his career including PRIDE, Strikeforce, ICON Sport, EliteXC, Cage Rage and Palace Fighting Championships.