The internet was all a-twitter last week with rumors of a rubber match between Phil Baroni and Ikuhisa Minowa in the world’s head-stompingest MMA promotion, ONE FC. Unfortunately, according to Baroni’s Twitter feed—which essentially functions as his frontal lobe—Minowa has turned down the fight:
His next two tweets— “She says I’m the life of the party ha ha ha ah ha” and “UGH that was a rough night,” in that order— were presumably not related.
The New York Badass and Minowaman first faced each other at Pride Bushido 7 in 2005—a slobberknocker that has since become a minor legend. Baroni won that fight in the second by repeatedly stomping on Minowa’s face and head, which was the kind of thing that happened to people who fought in Japan during the last decade. Their rematch at Pride Bushido 9 was a more sober affair that saw Minowaman grind out a decision via takedowns and top control, much to the chagrin of Baroni and his fan base.
Since then, both men have enjoyed career renaissances of sorts. Baroni made short work of Rodrigo Ribeiro at a ONE FC event in Manila, and Minowa defeated Jin Soo Yuk at Road FC 9 two weeks ago, at the enticingly-named Wonju Chiak Indoor Gym. It only makes sense that these rising middleweight prospects would finish what they started in 2005, but maybe we overestimate the number of people who watched Japanese MMA seven years ago. It seems impossible, but here we are.