Josh Barnett ‘Utterly Confident’ Facing Kharitonov; Believes He’ll Meet Cormier in the Finals


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

Josh Barnett is a man of many talents.

The former UFC heavyweight champion is also a part time professional wrestler, huge fan of heavy metal music, and avid comic book aficionado. Add to that he’s also one of the best fighters in the sport, and he intends on proving that once again when he faces Sergei Kharitonov in the semifinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix this weekend in Cincinnati, OH.

Before stepping foot into the cage on Saturday, Barnett was originally scheduled to take a pro wrestling match in Japan, but had to put that on hold for now.

Under the terms of his contract, Barnett can participate in professional wrestling as well as his commitment to Strikeforce, but according to the fighter, it just didn’t work out this time.

“While I have the ability to go to professional wrestling, I still have to get some permission,” Barnett revealed when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “It wasn’t granted for this match. I make quite a bit of money over in Japan doing my pro wrestling, I’m over there quite a few times per year. I like to use the wrestling to go over there and interact with my Japanese fans, to stay sharp, and to stay relevant over the land of the rising sun.”

Like other fighters including Sergei Kharitonov who does K-1 as well, Barnett likes having the ability to do more than just compete in MMA. He does admit however for as much as he loves professional wrestling, if the right offer comes along he’d be happy to stay on as a full time fighter.

“It all comes down to whose got the right contract, whose got the right set up so that we can work together on something. Any time you put yourself in a position where you have to have one thing or the other, you’re going to have to give up quite a bit to get that. I want to fight, I want to fight the best that I can, but I wouldn’t do so at the risk of what I feel would be making a really bad judgment in terms of my career,” said Barnett.

“UFC would be a great place to fight, Strikeforce is obviously a great place to fight as well. As long as there’s a ring and there’s opponents, I’ll be out there to go kick their heads off.”

Fighting is what Barnett has been focused on lately, and his main concern has been facing Kharitonov this weekend.

A former Pride standout, Kharitonov has kept busy over the years in various promotions and even turned to K-1 to give kickboxing a try. In the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Kharitonov made short work of former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski.

The win woke up a lot of naysayers who didn’t believe that Kharitonov was the same fighter who sat in the top ten of the heavyweight division just a few short years ago. Barnett wants everyone to believe in Kharitonov actually, because it will make a win over him that much sweeter.

“Everybody saw the last fight and he made a huge impression. I get all the questions, people are concerned, and that’s great. I want people to feel involved and I want them to cast doubt, makes it more interesting,” said Barnett. “I feel so utterly confident in my mind.”

The match-up between Barnett and Kharitonov seems to pit striker against grappler in a world where it’s never as simple as that. Barnett is confident however that his hands can keep him out of danger far longer than Kharitonov’s skills can keep him safe on the ground.

“I’m sure testing the ground game is not anything he wants to do,” Barnett stated. “He just wants to keep it on the feet, keep it striking and that’s fine. Cause we are going to get into some fisticuffs before I put him on his back, but once he’s down there I know he does have some ability in the submission area, but I expect I should have not a whole ton of trouble coming out on top.”

If Barnett is successful in his fight against Sergei Kharitonov, he would move onto the finals of the Grand Prix and face the winner on the other side of the bracket. That fight pits Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva against late replacement Daniel Cormier.

So who does Barnett think he’ll face in the finals should he make it?

“I have a feeling I’m going to face (Daniel) Cormier in the finals,” Barnett said. “I just think his wrestling and his comfort in the ring are at a point where he can take Bigfoot out of his game, and beat him on a decision.”

Saturday night will prove if Barnett can go 2 for 2 with predictions by winning his own fight, and picking Cormier as the fighter he will face in the finals in 2012.

Follow @DamonMartin on Twitter or e-mail Damon Martin.
For more
UFC News and UFC Rumors, follow MMAWeekly.com on Twitter and Facebook.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 6 hours ago
  • 43 views

"Cigano" believes Overeem and Barnett called him out just to promote their names; says he's up to fight Stipe Miocic. Junior dos Santos, who was recently called out to fight Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett, isn't interested in either of them for his next bout on the octagon. Interviewed by Tatame.com.br, 'Cigano' remembered that "The Reem" had his chance to make a fight between them happen and mentioned that the Dutch Heavyweight will face Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Souza, on more

  • 26 days ago
  • 34 views

The trash talk won’t stop, and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva wants to end this rivalry inside the Octagon. The Brazilian heavyweight continues to campaign for a match with former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett when he returns from suspension, and the fact that Barnett isn’t interested in fighting him makes Silva wonder why. "Everything he said is nothing but excuses. He’s simply afraid to fight me," "Bigfoot" said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "If a fighter comes to the media and says he more

  • 27 days ago
  • 34 views

Bigfoot' Silva talks about his ongoing feud with Josh Barnett and what's next for him. more

  • 14 days ago
  • 26 views

In the year following his release from the UFC, featherweight Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia has righted himself and become one of the best comeback stories in MMA. And he believes he'll one day return to the Octagon. more

  • 10 days ago
  • 18 views

It looks like a deal between women's MMA vanguard Gina Carano is close to getting done. And her first fight in the UFC could be against the the relay to her baton-passing, Ronda Rousey, who won an ESPY award on Wednesday for "Best Female Athlete." UFC president Dana White, while talking at the UFC Fight Night 46 pre-fight scrum, acknowledged that he and Carano will have an imminent discussion when he gets back from Dublin, Ireland this weekend. "Next week," he said. "Next week, I have a meeting more

  • 6 days ago
  • 204 views

Nutrition guru Mike Dolce believes Daniel Cormier has more pounds to give if he wants to reinvent himself once again. Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC more

  • 6 days ago
  • 73 views

Renowned MMA nutritionist Mike Dolce believes that UFC light heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier can make some noise at 185 pounds without seeing a noticeable drop off in skill. Dolce made the bold proclamation when he spoke on MMA Junkie Radio recently: I think if (Cormier) keeps living the lifestyle that he keeps now, takes more of my advice (and) a closer approach with me to help him modify that, if he wants to, he’ll be able to weigh in at 185 (pounds) to compete very close to what he compe more

  • 5 days ago
  • 29 views

UFC featherweight fighter Dustin Poirier joined Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to discuss his opinion on Ireland’s Conor McGregor, as well as the hype and starpower he has generated over the past year. Dustin Poirier is bitterly disappointed that fans are discussing a budding Irish talent instead of a proven WEC veteran for a potential featherweight title shot. A longtime competitor in the UFC's featherweight division, Poirier has gone 8-2 since joining the promotion following the WEC merger, and more

  • 4 days ago
  • 9 views

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) with guests Daniel Cormier, Dustin Poirier, Josh Thomson and Jan Jorgensen.Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, UFC more