Barnett Evaluates UFC Heavyweights

Written by Tom Ngo
January 9th, 2009

Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett has never been shy when it comes to speaking his mind regarding his former employer. And now that the UFC has crowned a former professional wrestler as their heavyweight champion, Barnett couldn’t help but add his two cents.

“It’s a little surreal that a guy with four fights can get a UFC title shot but it should say something about their heavyweight division as well,” Barnett stated of UFC champion Brock Lesnar. “But he trained very hard and fought as hard as he could and he won. That’s a testament to a guy putting himself in a situation like that and rising to the occasion and that’s a really quality win for him.”

However to Barnett, the name “Randy Couture” alone is what made Lesnar’s win “quality.” He was quick to point out that the Couture of today is nothing compared to the one many years ago.

“…anyone in the know knows that Randy isn’t anywhere near one of the very top guys right now,” Barnett added. “It’s a very stylistic approach for him at this point. The wrong fighter fights Randy and they’re going to get trounced as if Randy’s a 26-year-old guy. But the right fighter fights Randy and it makes him look horrible.”

Barnett is currently preparing for his upcoming bout against Gilbert Yvel at Affliction’s second MMA promotion, “Day of Reckoning,” on January 24th.

Although he knows that there were more competitive opponents out there other than Yvel,  he felt that he needed to take the bout and continue to fight in organizations other than the UFC, as he feels it will benefit all fighters in the long run.

“We need at least one more big organization out there,” Barnett said. “Maybe even two more. To have just the UFC be the only game in town and have them be the only word on the sport to the general public would be a horrible thing. Affliction isn’t going to be the UFC. They’re not going to do everything like the UFC. Everything they do is going to have their own spin on it and that may be what brings new fans to the sport as opposed to the way the UFC is doing it.”

In the meantime, Barnett will continue to bide his time and wait for his opportunity to face current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko. The two were in talks to face off on this Affliction card, however they were unable to close the deal and Emelianenko will be defending his title against Andrei Arlovski instead.

Barnett was not too worried, knowing that the highly anticipated matchup will eventually take place.

“We both understand it’s a very lucrative fight,” Barnett said of the potential bout. “It’s probably one we’ll only do once. We’ll get to it.”

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