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From Tristar to SBG Charlestown: BAMMA’s Dean Barry Has Been Learning From The Best

Irishman Dean Barry will make his BAMMA debut at BAMMA 35 later this month and he's already been learning from some of the best in the business.

BAMMA 35 is fast approaching and one of the men you want to be keeping an eye on is Dean ‘The Sniper’ Barry.

Back in March, BAMMA announced that they’d signed Barry to a multi-fight contract following his successful professional debut in late 2017. The Irishman comes from an incredibly successful kickboxing background where he won multiple European and World titles all over the world.

Having now signed his first multi-fight deal with an established MMA promotion, Barry spoke with about his prestigious kickboxing background and where it all began for him.

“I’ve been competing in martial arts since I was 11 so I’m 25 now and I’ve been doing it my whole life and travelling the world since I was a kid,” Barry said. “I’ve been on the Irish kickboxing team for basically my whole life and I won the junior world and Europeans just before I moved up to the seniors and then I won them at a young age.

“I just went on like a four year streak of just winning and I won every tournament multiple times. Every time I would fight, I would win and even the biggest tournaments in kickboxing where you could even and have like 120 guys. I would just win them consecutively over and over again so I won them four years straight, was ranked #1 in the world at one stage and just finished on a high.”

‘The Sniper’ heads to MMA

Cleaning up the kickboxing world wasn’t going to be enough for Barry though. His competitive attitude and desire to be recognised as one of the best fighters in the world led him in the direction of MMA.

“I was over in America like two years ago competing and there was no other Irish people fighting there and I had the same success over there, I just won everything.

“I kinda just said to myself that I’ve been given a good skillset in my life and I just wanted to put it [to the best use] so I knew I needed to kinda branch off into what is most popular right now and that’s MMA. I had an itch to do it, and well, here I am.”

From Tristar to SBG Charlestown

After training at Tristar in Montreal, Canada, Barry made his professional MMA debut at Shamrock FC 294 last September in Kansas City, Missouri. He went on to defeat Thomas Thatcher via first round TKO, but not long afterwards he had to make his way back to Ireland.

“I came back to Ireland at the end of last year and I was applying for a new visa for a while,” Barry said. “Then I started training with Owen Roddy at SBG Charlestown and I just clicked with him and his team right away. The level is really high with them and it’s just local. I just needed a base at home while I go away and do my camps abroad. I’ve been over there since January now and it’s really worked for me.

“Owen and the guys were very welcoming to me. Owen will be doing my corner on the night and I’ll be flying my coach over from Canada in as well. He’ll be cornering me alongside Owen and my lifelong kickboxing instructor Dave Heffernan.”

Taking on the showman

Barry’s next fight will take place in the 3 Arena against an American who has already fought there, Anthony “Pretty Boy” Taylor. The Californian fought James Gallagher in the co-main event of Bellator 169 back in December 2016 and raised plenty of eyebrows along the way with his larger than life character.

Barry was previously set to face two other opponents, but after they pulled out on short notice it was Taylor who answered the call. The Irishman said he respects Taylor’s willingness to throw down, but said the night wouldn’t ending well for him on May 12.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Barry said. “He took the fight on two weeks notice and as far as I know he wasn’t even doing that much training or anything at all. I’ve watched his fights and he’s small, he’s stocky and he just swings for the fences. He’s got no fight IQ and he just swings a lot of sloppy shots. His wrestling is awful and so is his jiu-jitsu. 

“For me, if you’re coming in against a guy like me with the fight IQ I have and the style I bring, it’s going to be a bad call for him in my opinion. Look, it’s a fight and it can go either way, but I genuinely can’t really see him hitting me. He’s the exact same style and fight as the last guy I fought. He’s more of a showman and he’s good at doing all the trash talking and stuff. To me he’s an athlete, he’s not a fighter. Luckily for me fighting wins fights not muscles.”

Conor is Conor and I want to do it my way

Whilst having his feet firmly placed on the ground, Barry isn’t absent of having goals in the sport and a long term plan. For all the bad news currently around the sport in Ireland, Barry wants to be a fighter who sets an example both inside and outside of the cage.

“I admire Conor McGregor and I wouldn’t have picked up MMA if it wasn’t for Conor,” Barry said. MMA was nothing in Ireland before him and people seeing what he did and how he did it and how you can make money out of it, it brought a lot of people over into MMA, me being one of them.

“But, Conor is Conor and there’s only one Conor. There will only ever be one like him and I think a lot of people are trying to go down the same route as him, the same style and even changing the tone of their voice to try be like him, but he’s the man that’s done it. That’s been done though. I want to do it my way. I want to shine some positivity on it and show people that people make mistakes, I still think he’s great. I think after one or two fights, in my heart, that I’m going to be one of the next up and coming stars of Ireland. 

“Once I get comfortable in that cage no one is going to be able to move with me or stand with me. They won’t get near me.”

BAMMA 35 takes place on May 12 and will be headlined by a welterweight contest between Alex Lohore and Ion Pascu.

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