Josh BarnettJosh Barnett will be returning to the UFC after an 11-year absence to take on fellow former heavyweight champion Frank Mir in Milwaukee on Saturday night.

With nine wins in his last ten fights, Barnett is clearly still a force to be reckoned with in the heavyweight division. More than that, he believes he is still the champion because he hasn’t lost a fight in the Octagon since winning the title at UFC 36.

“When I walk in the ring, in my mind, I’m making my first title defense. That’s the way I see it,” he said on a recent episode of MMA’s Great Debate.

Barnett’s last UFC outing was in March 2002 when he stopped Randy Couture in the second round to win a belt that he would subsequently be stripped of after testing positive for a banned substance.

Barnett went on to fight for Pride, where he faced the likes of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Mark Hunt and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The 35-year-old compared Mir’s career fighting in the UFC unfavorably with his own, while he competed in Japan.

“We’ve always been in different places, even when he was fighting for titles. No one ever took my belt from me, so I don’t know what belt they were swinging around, but that wasn’t the UFC heavyweight title as far as I was concerned and I was off at Pride fighting the top dudes in the world at the time.”

There is no doubt that when Mir first won the belt by submitting Tim Sylvia at UFC 48, most of the top heavyweights in the world were competing elsewhere. Zuffa’s buyout of Pride changed all that and Barnett is looking forward to testing himself against the division’s elite.

“I’ve come back to the UFC and the UFC is now the premier place to be for MMA,” Barnett said.

He feels that Mir is past his prime, but says he will not be taking this fight lightly.

“At this point Frank’s best days have already occurred, but you can’t underestimate people because you set yourself up for a downfall and I don’t think of Frank as being a bad fighter. A fighter might lose ten in a row, but they got a history of winning 30 before it and any moment there could be the one fight where they manage to pull it together and come back to their championship best and it only takes one fight.”

At this stage, Mir would be entitled to point out that he is almost two years younger than Barnett, but the “War Master” feels that, stylistically, this is a very good match-up for him.

“I think he’s very good (on the ground). He doesn’t have a very ‘jiu-jitsuesque’ style of grappling, but he’s a big dude, explosive and I believe he wrestled high school. So when it comes to grappling, there’s not a whole lot that he hasn’t seen before, but when it comes to application and putting things together, I don’t think he’s going to be able to find training partners that grapple the way I do. If it does go to the ground, I can shut down his offense and make him pay for being underneath.”

The official UFC rankings have Frank Mir at No. 6, while Barnett sits at No. 10. After fighting for Sengoku, Dream, Affliction and Strikeforce in recent years, Barnett is happy to finally be getting the recognition that comes from competing for the leading MMA promotion on the planet.

“For quite some time after Pride folded, anyone who was in the UFC got ranked higher than me and a lot of Frank’s relevancy was based on being in the UFC. I want to see how much potential there really is there by fighting him and, honestly, I don’t really care too much about rankings, but you see it and you think ‘this idiot thinks that?’ It gives you that much more motivation when you are getting your workout done.”

Like many fighters, Barnett has done double-duty in Hollywood. He was recently enlisted as a fight coordinator on the soon to be released Keanu Reeves movie “Man of Tai Chi.”

For the time being, however, he is fully focused on UFC 164 and while Barnett did make some disparaging remarks about Mir’s cardio, he added that he has no intention of trying to grind out a decision victory.

“I’m a finisher and I don’t want to be in there 15 minutes; I’d rather be in there five or less.”

Be sure to Like MMAWeekly.com on Facebook and Follow @MMAWeeklycom on Twitter.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett: A Head-to-Toe Breakdown

  • 28 days ago
  • 20 views

September is all about the heavyweights in the UFC, and it gets started on Saturday, when Andrei Arlovski (25-12, 1 NC) meets Josh Barnett (34-8) at UFC Fight Night 93. The Hamburg, Germany, event is read news >>

Shinya Aoki to Defend Lightweight Title Against Eduard Folayang at ONE: Defending Honor

  • 28 days ago
  • 7 views

Shinya Aoki will make the first defense of his lightweight title in 18 months in the main event of ONE: Defending Honor. read news >>

By The Numbers - Fight Night Hamburg

  • 28 days ago
  • 1 views

Go inside the numbers of Fight Night Hamburg, featuring main and co-main event stars Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, Alexander Gustafsson and Jan Blachowicz. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 93: Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett Weigh-in Results

  • 25 days ago
  • 33 views

UFC Fight Night 93: Arlovski vs. Barnett got the green light, following Friday's weigh-ins in Hamburg, Germany. read news >>

Fight Night Arlovski vs Barnett weigh-in results

  • 26 days ago
  • 6 views

UFC Fight Night Hamburg, which is headlined by former UFC heavyweight champs Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett airs live on UFC FIGHT PASS from the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany on Sept. 3. read news >>

Fighting for Barnett leads to fulfilling life

  • 26 days ago
  • 4 views

To Josh Barnett, fighting is more than just about a physical contest or wins and losses. It's about leading a fulfilling life. Barnett headlines Fight Night Hamburg against Andrei Arlovski on Sept. 3 read news >>

UFC Breakdown: Fight Focus Video – Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett

  • 25 days ago
  • 11 views

Former UFC fighter Dan Hardy breaks down all the potential in the main event of UFC Hamburg between Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett, which goes down Saturday. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 93 Joe Rogan Video Preview: Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett

  • 24 days ago
  • 14 views

Before they clash in the main event of UFC Hamburg on Saturday, hear Joe Rogan breakdown the heavyweight fight between Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. read news >>

UFC Hamburg Fight Highlights: Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski Rock Em, Sock Em Opener

  • 24 days ago
  • 16 views

Check out the UFC Fight Night 93 highlights from the main event between Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett. read news >>

UFC Fight Night 93 Results: Josh Barnett Takes Out Andrei Arlovski

  • 24 days ago
  • 8 views

Josh Barnett used size to his advantage, getting the better of Andrei Arlovski in a battle of former UFC heavyweight champions at UFC Fight Night 93. read news >>