Josh Barnett had been a free agent since single-handedly taking down Affliction Entertainment back in July 2009. While much of his freelance status had to do with trying to secure the appropriate deal, the risk of bringing on the talented – yet controversial – fighter played a factor as well.
Now that Strikeforce has rolled the dice on bringing Barnett back to the States, he believes his new place of business houses more established 265-pounders than a little company called the UFC. While Strikeforce may not possess the glitz and glamor that Octagon shows offer, the 32-year-old would be willing to compare resumes at anytime.
“The Strikeforce heavyweight division is really phenomenal right now,” Barnett told MMAWeekly. “I guess one way to look at it would be look at me, Fedor [Emelianenko], [champion Alistair Overeem], [Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva], [Andrei] Arlovski, and [Fabricio] Werdum, and look at our records and stack them up. If you count all the wins that we have under our belts, that far surpasses the top five guys in the UFC’s amount of fights.
“Granted, just because you don’t have a lot of fights that doesn’t mean you’re not a great fighter, but I definitely think we’ve got a big edge with that kind of veteran, international talent.”
Champion Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin and Frank Mir would likely round out the UFC’s Fave 5, with former interim champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira following closely behind. While Big Nog experienced great success in Japan during Pride’s heyday, the others have accomplished their greatest feats inside the Octagon.
“The Babyfaced Assassin” claims their countless battles in foreign territory will allow them to put on more exciting fights than their stateside rivals.
“With that kind of time spent in the ring and the cage, we’ve fought under all kinds of different rules, we’ve been in all kinds of different wars, and I think it’s going to pay off when the people tune in to go and watch us fight,” Barnett stated. “At any moment things can swing around.
“Guys you would expect to excel sometimes, sometimes don’t, and sometimes somebody steps into the limelight and really shines.”
At the same time, Barnett can only speak for his own efforts – which he promises will be violent.
“I’m going to bring the same kind of ferocity and relentless, merciless kind of fighting in the ring,” he said in closing. “No one’s going to be disappointed in my entry.”
Barnett is expected to break in his new Strikeforce contract in early 2011.