Danny Barlow (7-0 MMA) wasted no time securing a UFC contract during his Contender Series fight with Raheam Forest on Tuesday.
Barlow lived up to his nickname, “LeftHand2God,” when he landed three lefts to Forest’s chin just over a minute into their bout. Forest stumbled back, and with his back against the fence, ate a few more shots from Barlow – all but one of them lefts. Referee Mark Smith saved Forest from more damage, giving Barlow a TKO win at the 1:19 mark of the first frame.
Barlow knew he had done enough to secure a contract from UFC CEO Dana White.
“By finishing him, it felt like there was nothing else I could essentially prove,” Barlow told MMASucka. “It’s just like, he’s a guy who could’ve finished me or I could’ve finished him. He’s had a lot of hard fights in his pro career.”
Barlow noted that he was the first to stop Forest via strikes.
He said earning the UFC contract sunk in a “little bit.”
“I’m at home and I’m processing it with my family a little bit I got a chance to get home and think about it,” he said Friday. “I don’t think it ever really sank in, and I’m not really expecting it to. It’s a whole different level of operation.”
Barlow said earning the contract wasn’t just for him, but also for his coach, Brian Hall, and teammates.
“It means everything as far as what you can get out of life as far as fulfilling dreams and being successful,” Barlow said. “It meant everything. It meant a lot to me because I know there are a lot of people who have the same dream. My coach gets to be a UFC coach, officially. Even with his connections to Jaleel Willis in Bellator or Ryan Spann, being in the background a lot with Ryan Spann. But for him to be 100% ‘I’ve got my UFC fighter,’ that was a dream for him. I know it meant a lot to me, because I know it meant a lot to a lot of people. My teammates worked hard to get me to where I was with the weight cut and with the fight. I know it meant a lot to everybody, so it means more to me.”
Barlow said he wants to fight as soon as possible, adding that the welterweight division is currently log jammed.
“I feel like a lot of fighters try to slow the momentum and pick and choose fights,” Barlow said. “I feel like if you’re not injured or hurt, man, have fun doing what you do.”
Barlow said he doesn’t have anyone in mind for his first UFC opponent, nor does he know a lot of names in the division. But he never picks and chooses fights, he said.
“I always stay ready, so really, it’s whoever. Any good match-up, I feel like I’m prepared for all forms of match-ups: Wrestler, striker, jiu-jitsu, anything. I feel like I’m ready for all match-ups.”
There are a few fighters Barlow would eventually like to fight, but he said he has to work his way up first. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson was the first name he mentioned.
But on the opposite end of the spectrum…
“I would like to see how Khamzat [Chimaev] feels in the cage,” Barlow said. “I feel like he’s the biggest threat in the UFC right now, Khamzat … A good test for me would be just to feel Khamzat. I would love to fight him just to feel how great he is. He looks like he’s on a different level like Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. So it’d be a good fight to get a feel for him.”
The third name is Kevin Holland.
“I feel like he’s got the potential to be the champion right now just because of his fighting experience now in the UFC, he’s fought everybody,” Barlow said. “I feel like, one more step, if he changes his mindset, I feel like he could be the champion. I feel like I could have a good fight against Kevin Holland for sure. After I get up there, I feel like that’d be a great match-up.”
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