Last week, when Askren himself appeared on the MMA Hour himself to announce heíd signed with ONE FC, he didnít hold back any punches on Baroni.
"Oh man, heís an idiot, you know, heís bad at MMA, I know none of those [ONE FC] guys are ranked in the top 10 or 20, but still, he canít even be in the top 200, can he?" Askren said. "Heís just trying to pick a fight against a winner and Iím trying to ignore him because heís irrelevant."
Askren went on to say other things about Baroni, particularly about an episode of him crying to his girlfriend on a television show after a loss. "It was embarrassing for me to watch, as a man it was embarrassing," Askren said.
Baroni listened to the segment on the show and returned fire.
"Heís a pretty good talker, but those are fighting words," Baroni said. "You want to fight letís fight. It might be eight or ten weeks, but letís do it."
Baroni, who is just 15-17 in a career that has spanned a decade going back to the UFC and Pride, criticized Askren for being "only a wrestler," and referred to his own battle with Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland -- "who is twice the fighter Askren is," he said -- from UFC 41 as proof of the wrestling antidote he possesses.
In the one fight Baroni said he watched Askren compete in, against Jay Hieron, he said he thought one-time Mizzou wrestler lost. When asked if he thought Askren is cocky -- or if heíd even earned the right to be cocky -- Baroni questioned Askrenís credentials.
"Heís a great wrestler, but Iím not too sure what the Bellator welterweight championship means. Iím just not sure," he said. "I donít think he had the right to disrespect me the way he did. You donít bring up peopleís families. You donít bring up somebodyís wife and call them your girlfriend."
Baroni said that ONE FC took care of all his medical expenses after the Suzuki loss, and even flew him back first class so that heíd be as comfortable as possible on his return to the States from the Philippines. As such, he said he wanted to pay back the organization with a big fight.
"I donít think thereíd be a bigger fight in ONE FC than me against Askren. No disrespect, but whoíd he going to fight otherwise? Iím the biggest name over there," he said. "I just think heís a good talker. I think we could promote the fight. And I think Iím going to beat him. I wouldnít take the fight if I didnít I could beat him."
Even if the fight seems destined to happen at some point, the question as to how long Baroni wanted to continue fighting in general was brought up. Baroni, who described himself as a "big underachiever" who didnít accomplish any of his goals in MMA, said he didnít know. He referred to the resurrection that Mark Hunt has enjoyed in the UFC as a catalyst for trying a while longer. He also said that whatever damage he has done to himself -- through a career of fighting that spans more than half his lifetime -- is already done.
In other words, Baroni says he has plenty of fight left in him.
"I donít want to get beat up anymore in public, you know? Itís not fun," he said. "I want to come back from this injury and bust my ass and make all the sacrifice I have to make to go in there and compete with Ben Askren."