Posts Tagged ‘Josh Barnett’

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Ahead of re-debut in the UFC against Frank Mir at UFC 164, Josh Barnett discusses how returning to the Octagon was “the perfect fit” as this stage of his career.

Former Heavyweight champion Josh Barnett is back in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and he couldn’t be any happier about it.

After months of negotiations and shopping around, Barnett finally put pen to paper with the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization earlier this month and is scheduled to collide with Frank Mir at UFC 164 in Milwaukee, Wis.., on Aug. 31, 2013.

It took a while for Barnett to settle on signing with the UFC, but once he took a closer look at the rapidly growing heavyweight division, he couldn’t help but to be drawn in.

“I thought the way things were going, the UFC trying to build its heavyweight division to epic status, it was a perfect fit,” Barnett said on Friday’s (May 31, 2013) edition of AXS TV‘s “Inside MMA”. “They’re just going to keep lining up victims, and I’m going to keep the guy at the morgue busy.”

A fight with Mir is one the MMA community has had interest in seeing since both men competed on the same UFC 34 fight card over a decade ago in Nov. 2001.

When Barnett’s return to the Octagon finally became official, chatter of a fight between the two former champions and grappling specialists really began to pick up steam.

Days after, UFC officials announced Barnett vs. Mir for UFC 164 in a match up of two of the most successful heavyweight submission fighters in the history of the sport.

Mir will represent just the second top-10 ranked opponent Barnett has faced since 2006, which means Barnett may have to adjust his training to prepare for the world’s top level of competition.

When asked if he would bring it anyone special to help prepare for his upcoming foe, the 35-year-old took the opportunity to launch what is sure to be the first of many jabs directed at Mir.

“I don’t think we’re going to have an imitator for Frank Mir,” said Barnett.” I just think that with that giant back piece tattoo it’ll be hard to find somebody who can really fill in.”

Tracy Lee/Combat Lifestyle

The UFC 164 “Hometown Throwdown” is getting some out-of-town muscle, thanks to the recent booking of Soa Palelei vs. Nikita Krylov for the Aug. 31 pay-per-view in Milwaukee.

With the official UFC 164 announcement earlier this week, including ticket sale dates and times, the mixed martial arts (MMA) match ups are coming fast and furious.

Especially for Soa Palelei (18-3), who just earned an invitation back to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) earlier this year after winning 10 of 11 fights outside the promotion (read more on that here), with the lone blemish coming at the hands of Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier back in Nov. 2010.

“The Hulk” has been booked to battle Ukrainian heavyweight newcomer Nikita Krylov (14-0) inside BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc., on Aug. 31, 2013, after his original opponent, Stipe Miocic at UFC 161, was promoted to fight Roy Nelson in Winnipeg.

Consider this Plan B.

“The Al Capone” — who actually dresses like the legendary Chicago gangster — is undefeated in his professional career and has finished all 14 opponents. That’s even more impressive when you consider the Donetsk-native is just 21 years old.

Welcome to the big show.

UFC 164 will feature a heavyweight showdown between former champions Frank Mir and Josh Barnett on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card, as well as a pair of featherweight fights between Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier and Clay Guida vs. Chad Mendes.

Sounds good to me.

Photo by Martin McNeil/Thomas Myers MMAMania

It’s on!

Ask and you shall receive.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champions, Frank Mir and Josh Barnett, will indeed hook ’em up at UFC 164, a pay-per-view (PPV) event that takes place at Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis., on Aug. 31, 2013.

The world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion made the announcement this evening via; however, it did not indicate whether or not the anticipated clash would serve as the main event of the evening.

Mir is currently mired in the first-ever back-to-back losing streak of his professional MMA career, dropping a unanimous decision to Daniel Cormier at UFC on FOX 7 last month and getting pounded out by then-champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146 in May 2012.

It’s not going to get any easier with Barnett, an experienced veteran who no doubt can put Mir’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the test (for better or worse).

Barnett, who recently reached a multi-fight deal to return to the Octagon for the first time since 2002 (more here), most recently made quick work of Nandor Guelmino at Strikeforce: “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine” in Jan. 2013. “Warmaster,” 35, has won nine of his 10 most recent matches, dating back to 2008, with the only blip during that span a unanimous decision loss to the aforementioned Cormier in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix little more than one year ago.

He’s now cleared to try and make good on his promises to “wreck shop” and “smash dudes’ faces.”

UFC 164 currently has several confirmed bouts, including Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera, Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier and Clay Guida vs. Chad Mendes. Diego Sanchez is also expected to return to the Octagon against an opponent still to be determined.

Expect more announcements to follow soon with the show now just 12 weeks away.

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE/Mike Bohn

Frank Mir would be more than happy to be Josh Barnett‘s re-introduction fight to the UFC and believes a match up between the two former UFC heavyweight champions would be “phenomenal.”

When news surfaced former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight titleholder Josh Barnett had signed a multi-fight deal to return to the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organization after 12 years, talk of potential match ups for “The Warmaster” in his return to the Octagon began to swirl.

The most attractive candidate to Barnett, though, seemed to be a match up with another brash and well-spoken former heavyweight champion in Mir, who is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Daniel Cormier at UFC on FOX 7.

Seeing as Cormier also handed Barnett his last professional defeat in May 2012, it makes sense to match up the two former heavyweight champions in a fight Mir believes would be “phenomenal.”

“I think that would be a phenomenal fight,” Mir said of facing Barnett in an interview with El Octagono. “I think that some of the fans have talked about it a lot on the Internet as far as who is the better catch wrestler. And I think that I would be more than happy to welcome him to the UFC and I think it would be a great fight.”

In a division that severely lacks high-level submission fighters, Mir and Barnett are two of the best in the world on the ground and the idea of the two big men going head-to-head on the mat is one to salivate over.

From Mir’s perspective, though, he is extremely confident that he is the craftier ground fighter and believes Barnett would have a similar confidence in his skills going into the fight, which would ultimately lead to his demise.

“I think that he’s not afraid to grapple with me,” said Mir. “Which I think would be one of his downfalls.”

Mir did not target a date for a potential clash with Barnett; however, he did mention that he hopes to find out when and where his next fight will take place in the coming days.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports/Steph Daniels Bloody Elbow

Freshly signed UFC heavyweight star, Josh Barnett gives an exclusive interview to Bloody Elbow, complete with his HW fight picks for UFC 160, thoughts on rankings, title shots and more.

The UFC just got a whole lot more metal with the signing of Josh Barnett. It’s a contract we’ve all been waiting for, and now that it’s happened, arm chair matchmakers are lining up the likely suspects in anticipation of the Warmaster taking them out, one by one. There are some great matches to be made, but one name stands out from the bunch, the man that should be first in line, and that’s Frank Mir.

As a long time fan of Barnett, one of the things I look forward to, aside from the actual fight possibilities, is seeing him in the official rankings. I recently had the good fortune to land the first interview with Josh, post signing, and got his thoughts on some of the current heavyweights (including Mir), his picks for some of the fights coming up this weekend, and where he feels he is ranked. Here’s what he had to say:

First opponent

I haven’t heard anything yet. It’s interesting, and I’d like to see who’s got the guts, first off. At this point, it’s so new, we haven’t even picked the scabs off. I think everyone is basically thinking, ‘Well who’s left hanging around and who’s ranked high enough?’ At this point, I don’t even know when they’re going to have me get in the ring.

There’s plenty of guys out there to fight, and they’re going to line up whoever they think is the best and most exciting fight. I’m also pretty positive that whoever gets to be my first victim, because I don’t have opponents, I have victims, is going to have to play second fiddle to me, after everything that has gone on between the UFC and myself over the years, and me finally being back and stepping into the cage.

Frank Mir

Here’s the thing. I’m made out of titanium, mixed with adamantium, so I don’t rust. Frank Mir, for lack of a better term, his ranking or anything else, is inconsequential to me. His name has just been thrown across my plate so many times. Many people have made mention of how much they want to see that fight. I guess it’s about time, but it’s not up to me. I only call people out because I see them as future opponents. If I want to fight somebody, I’ll just go knock on their door and say, ‘Hey, when you’re done with dinner, why don’t you go stretch out, put your mouth piece in and get your ass kicked.’ Otherwise, I have to wait and see if he agrees to it, the management, and if the promotion likes the fight – that has a lot to do with it.


Well, I’d be in a ranking class of one for most awesome ever of all time cool guy. That’s a different league. It’s a whole different parameter, so in that, I stand alone. It’s kind of difficult [laughs].

I just go out there and fight. I like to have the rankings and all the numerics and everything left alone for all the diehard MMA fans. They’re the ones to get around and chat and argue and start feuds that will last for centuries upon centuries over whether he though Joe Blow should have been seventh in the rankings.

I just want to get in there and mix it up with those guys. It’s not going to take me much time at all to sort out where I sit. If all that’s left is a bunch of broken bodies, then I guess I’m the only one that can be ranked.


Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports/Thomas Myers

It took more than one decade, but “Warmaster” is set to return to the Octagon in 2013.

Three months ago Josh Barnett declined an offer to return to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), with his manager explaining that his client was going to wait for the “best deal” before making a decision about his mixed martial arts (MMA) future.

It came as somewhat of a shock, considering the Pride FC, Affliction MMA and Strikeforce standout declared just weeks earlier that he was eager to return to his old stomping grounds inside the Octagon and “wreck shop.” Regardless, Barnett stuck to his guns over the course of the next two months, reiterating (here and here) that he was content to hold out until his demands were met.

The wait, according to a report from USA Today this evening, appears to be over.

Barnett recently inked a multi-fight contract and is expected to return to the eight-walled cage “later this year” for the first time since 2002, which is when he defeated Randy Couture at UFC 36 to win the Heavyweight championship. However, Barnett tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) immediately afterward, was stripped of the title and released from the promotion.

It was a chain of events that triggered and MMA odyssey for Barnett, who traveled the world over the next 10 years, laying waste to many of the top fighters (at the time), including Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Alexander Emelianenko, among others, in Japan during the Pride FC heyday. The incident, as well as the way in which he handled the fallout, irritated UFC President Dana White, who once vowed that Barnett would never be welcome back.

Never say never.

Barnett, 35, has won nine of his 10 most recent matches, dating back to 2008, with the only blip during that span a unanimous decision loss to Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix little more than one year ago. It’s unclear who Barnett will compete against in his return bout and when; however, Frank Mir, has been bandied about quite often.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to book a trilogy match with the aforementioned Nogueira, either.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The natural course of business negotiations often produces several stops and starts. Parties must continually reassess their own wants and needs, as well as the shifting economy beneath their feet. Throw in complicating factors like outside suitors, market pressures and public relations, and the recipe for reaching a deal can grow far more complex.

Most of the time, it comes down to one single thing, and it’s whether the two parties want to work together. When they do, any barrier can be jumped, and a true middle ground can be found on even the most problematic of issues.

From the sounds of it, the possible deal between Josh Barnett and the UFC could be trending in that direction. Or more accurately, that is Barnett’s hope. Appearing on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Barnett indicated in several different ways that the UFC would be the most logical home for his services.

The 35-year-old, who has been a free agent since submitting Nandor Guelmino in January on the last Strikeforce show, said that there was only one stumbling block in reaching a deal with the Las Vegas-based promotion. Though he declined to say what it was out of respect to the promotion, he suggested the two could still reach a deal, saying that the one issue is “a very, very simple thing, in my mind.”

Asked by host Ariel Helwani if he wants to fight in the UFC next, Barnett didn’t mince words.

“I would love to fight in the UFC next,” he said, before noting how many times fans have quizzed him about the possibility of fighting Frank Mir over the years.

“I’ve been a top 10 fighter longer than anybody active in mixed martial arts at this time,” he said. “And there’s a real good reason for that. To be in the UFC would mean to go back to where I already won the belt, to go back to where I was a champion at 24 years old, and try to cement my legacy as an MMA fighter. I don’t really feel I can create that legacy and finish on a high point unless I’m there.”

The admission will no doubt create new buzz, as in February, Barnett officially declined the UFC’s offer and turned his attention elsewhere.

Barnett said his management team is talking to all available suitors and has received offers, but that “the UFC would be the most attractive place to ply my wares.”

Barnett had a five-fight run in the UFC in the early 2000s, capturing the heavyweight championship in March 2002, though he was stripped of the belt after testing positive for steroids.

After leaving the promotion, he became something of a fighting mercenary, competing in PRIDE, Sengoku, Affliction and Strikeforce, among other places. With a 32-6 record, he is considered by most of the sport’s observers to be the best heavyweight not under Zuffa contract.

There was a time when Barnett was being linked with Bellator, but he said he wasn’t as close to signing with Bellator as he was of signing with the UFC.

“Well, I think the right deal just hasn’t put itself together,” he said. “There’s been a lot of good pieces. These promotions have a lot to offer in terms of competition, promotional value, and opportunity to show the fights to a large audience. The fighting part of it, I’m game for all of it. I think it’d be a blast no matter where. But you can’t just run out and start punching people without thinking about the business aspects of it. Between me and my manager, the right scenario just hasn’t presented itself just yet.”

Barnett said he would like to finalize something as soon as possible. In regards to the prospects of him fighting Mir, he said he’d be open to it, even though he predicted Mir would find out he wasn’t in his league.

“With Frank, it’s just the one fight everyone brings to me,” he said. “I think part of that stems from us being American submission guys, and being big dudes, and having the fight between [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira and Mir, me and Nogueira, there’s some commonality between opponents. I can understand why fans look at it in that way. And honestly, yeah, Frank’s been around a long time. I’d have absolutely no issue fighting him in any way, shape, or form. I think it would be something that would get people excited, but I’ll be honest. If I’m just being humble, I think I get people excited anyway.”

As the days and months tick by, time is of the essence, but Barnett’s public statements make it clear that he’s ready to return to the negotiating table and try again to reach a deal.