Marc-André Barriault returns to the Octagon this Saturday at UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana, where the Quebec native will compete in his home country at Rogers Arena in Vancouver against Eryk Anders.
Currently training in South Florida at Kill Cliff FC, alongside UFC athletes Michael Chandler, Gilbert Burns and many more, Barriault’s been unable to see many of his family members for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and while awaiting his Green Card.
His inability to travel internationally, however, didn’t stop him from continuing his UFC career and getting more fights under his belt. In March, Barriault picked up one of his most impressive wins to date, defeating Julian Marquez via TKO late in Round Two at UFC 285 in Las Vegas.
Every day since, Barriault’s carried his momentum from that fight into every training session, trying to win every moment of every day.
“Since the last fight, every day I just focus on winning the day,” Barriault said. “I want to be the best every day, one day at a time. For this camp, I just kept the momentum rolling from my last fight in March. Now, I focus more on quality over quantity. When I feel like I need some rest, I’m not mad at myself anymore if I need to take a day off. I’m just having a good time with my wife, my dogs, go to the beach, and I’m just giving good rest to my body and mind. And then, the day after I’m ready to go.”
Now that Barriault is able to travel again, his next stop is back to Canada to challenge Anders. Barriault’s first two UFC bouts took place in his home country, Ontario and Alberta, respectively, and looking back at his debut, Barriault is excited to feel that same energy from the crowd this time around.
“I made my UFC debut in Ottawa back in 2019,” Barriault said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way but the crowd, the atmosphere, everything was great. But, at that time, I wasn’t the fighter and human that I am now so I’m really looking forward to enjoying all the moments of fight week, the weigh-ins and fight night.”
“[During my walkout], as soon as I saw the crowd, my name everywhere, the Canadian flag, I was like, ‘OK, this is real.’ Right now, I want to stay in the moment, but I also want to keep all the energy from the crowd and put on a good show.”
At UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana, Barriault not only gets to fight in front of all his fans in his home country, along with a long list of family members who will be in attendance at Rogers Arena, but he gets to challenge an opponent in Eryk Anders who he’s planned on competing against since he joined the UFC.
“I’ve been asking for this fight for a long time,” Barriault said. “I feel like right now it’s the perfect timing for both of us. We’re both veterans of the sport, similar styles, similar records, so I feel right now everything is perfectly aligned for me to have the performance of my life.”
“The first time I saw [Anders] fight was when he fought Lyoto Machida in Brazil. He’s a former football player, I played football myself in high school [and] college, his attitude is more raw, he’s a big guy, he likes to come forward, and I feel like it’s almost as if I have to fight my equal. He’s willing to put on a good fight, he’s a dog and I’m also a dog, so it’s going to be a dogfight.”
So, how do you fight your equal? Barriault’s plan is to simply outsmart Anders and to use his calm and collected nature in dangerous moments to make the right decisions when the fight starts heating up.
“I just need to be patient [and] choose the right moment to do my things,” Barriault said. “I’m ready to dance in the flames. I don’t care to be in chaos, I just need to find the calm in the chaos when it’s time, and as soon as I flip the switch, ‘Powerbar’ is ready to do his thing.
“Sometimes, even if it looks like I’m in trouble or in danger or something, I just need to stay composed and just remind myself that I have what it takes to be there, I belong in this game and it’s just a matter of time to show what I’m made of.”