FOR sure, Luke Barnatt will be hearing the jeers as he steps into enemy territory, but insists that will hardly affect him when he takes on Mark Muñoz in UFC: Fight Night Manila on Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The English mixed martial artist even believes playing before a hostile crowd can motivate him against the 'Filipino Wrecking Machine' in their middleweight bout forming part of the first-ever offering of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the Philippines.
“I’m not going to zone out at all,” Barnatt said as he prepared for his open workout on Wednesday at the MOA Music Hall.
“It doesn’t matter if they boo or cheer me; it’s all energy you can draw of,” he continued. “So the more they’re into the fight, the more they’re interested in the fight, the more pumped up I get.”
“So cheer for me or against me, but it doesn’t really make much difference,” he added. “I just want to put on a great fight and the Philippines loves great fights, so I’m sure everyone will be cheering.”
The 6-foot-6, 27-year-old Barnatt is not only six inches taller, but also 10 years younger than Muñoz, factors that he feels will work toward his favor.
“He’s a bit older and a bit more weathered, and it’s his retirement fight, so I’m not sure if his heart is fully in it,” Barnatt said of Muñoz. “I think being here in the Philippines might give him a little extra, but we’ll find out on the night.”
But Barnatt is definitely not taking his Filipino foe lightly and proof of it is that the Englishman was the first fighter in the card, bannered by the featherweight bout between Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber, to arrive in Manila.
“I’ve been here over a week already and I wanted to get myself acclimated.”