Open door policy: Josh Barnett doesn't equate Strikeforce wins with UFC contracts

Photo via MMA Frenzy

Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett could very well sweep the promotion's grand prix tournament, starting with a win over Sergei Kharitonov this Saturday night (Sept. 10) in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Beating the brakes off his fellow tournament hopefuls may put him in line for a Strikeforce heavyweight title fight, but don't expect it to be a golden ticket into the Las Vegas chocolate factory.

That's because "The Warmaster" has a history of cutting promos on UFC President Dana White, as well as butting heads with various athletic commissions, and may need to string together a handful of wins (without incident) to prove he's ready for another run on the grandest stage of all.

The Octagon.

"I don’t actually count anything as an open door to the UFC," Barnett told Sherdog's Beatdown Radio. "There is no open door to the UFC. You’re in the UFC when you sign a contract and you step into the ring. Until then, none of it matters or counts. You’ve got to win the fight put in front of you and then you make your steps from there. Until you win those fights, it’s really all bullshit."

What isn't bullshit is the part-time pro wrestler's grappling pedigree, evidenced by his 18 submission wins over the course of a 13-year career.

Barnett (30-5) is riding a seven-fight win streak heading into "Queen City" and has secured the finish in six of those seven contests, including an arm-triangle choke-out over Sam's Club standout Brett Rogers.

So, what about that nickname?

"I’m just too old to be a 'baby-faced' anything anymore," he explained. "The band 'Bolt Thrower' gave me the nickname ‘The Warmaster.’ You don’t get to choose your nicknames. They’re given to you. It seemed like the right time to change things up."

He's been called a lot of things throughout his career. Will Strikeforce Grand Prix Champion be one of them?

Let's hear your predictions for Saturday night's Showtime event.

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