‘MMA slut’ Josh Barnett is a good fit for UFC’s ‘epic’ heavyweight division

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett jokingly labels himself an “MMA slut,” thanks to his time spent in various fight promotions over his long and storied combat career.

Over his 16-year fighting career, Josh Barnett has competed in 13 mixed martial arts (MMA) organizations, including PRIDE FC, DREAM, Strikeforce, Affliction and of course, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

With that wealth of experience across the globe, it's safe to say "The Warmaster" has been around the MMA block a time or two.

"What can I say, I'm a little bit of an MMA slut," said Barnett in recent interview with Bass Rutten for AXS.TV.

Winning his first world title in 2002 at UFC 26, Josh was stripped of his crown after testing positive for banned substances. Bolting for Japan soon thereafter, Barnett went on to compete for Pancrase, K -1 and eventually found his way to PRIDE, where his popularity and fame grew, despite losing his first two fights with the promotion against Mirko Filipovic.

After traveling the world and even dabbling in pro wrestling, "The Baby Faced Assassin" made his way back stateside where he signed with Affliction, defeating Pedro Rizzo and Gilbert Yvel in his only two fights with the now-defunct promotion After a two-year stint with Strikeforce, Barnett's career has now come full circle, signing a contract to return to UFC. And according to the hard-hitting heavyweight, based on today's MMA landscape, it was just the right fit.

"I'm usually the aggressor in all things," said Barnett in regards to how the contract was finally sealed after turning down UFC's initial offer. "But, I just think with today's MMA landscape, the things I've been up to, the way the UFC is going to try and build that heavyweight division to epic status, it just sort of fit."

His first challenge inside the Octagon will be former three-time heavyweight champion Frank Mir. The two will collide on Aug. 13, 2013, when the promotion heads to Milwaukee, Wisc., with UFC 164.

And while Josh wouldn't reveal too much of his gameplan, he did manage to take a lighthearted stab at Mir's body ink. "I don't really think we're going to have an imitator for Frank Mir. I just think with that giant back piece tattoo, it would be kind of hard for somebody that can really fill in."

Since leaving PRIDE in 2006, Barnett has only lost once, going an impressive 9-1 with his lone blemish coming at the hands of Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale. Boasting an impressive resume like that proves the 35 year old still has plenty of gas left in the tank.

But will his previous success carry over into the Octagon now that he will be facing a new era of big men?

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