Ready to make his first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title defense, in his eyes at least, Josh Barnett will return to the Octagon after a 11-year hiatus to take on Frank Mir in the co-main event of this weekend's (Aug. 31, 2013) UFC 164 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
It's a return fight fans have longed for -- and never really expected to happen -- after watching "The Baby Faced Assassin" compete overseas against some of the best big men in the sport under the now-defunct PRIDE FC mixed martial arts (MMA) organization.
While many believed he would never grace the Octagon again, thanks to his past troubles with banned substances and his rocky relationship with company president Dana White, Barnett's return to was something he knew would always happen since his last victory inside the eight-walled cage at UFC 36.
He explained during his recent appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"I never thought of it as a detour. But, I did think that the potential for me to be back in the UFC was just a phone call away. It wasn't as farfetched as it seemed in the public eye. But, I'm glad it seemed that way in the public eye because now it means so much more to see this fight. It garners that much more interest."
Drawing former two-time heavyweight champ Frank Mir in his return, Barnett will take on a man that fans have longed to see him compete against, seeing as how both enjoyed success during the same time period, albeit in different organizations.
For Barnett, a fight against Mir wasn't necessarily on the top of his wish list; however, he sees the bout as a chance to erase people's curiosity as to how a fight between them would actually turn out:
"I never really paid a whole lot of attention to Frank, particularly or personally. But, I always thought it was fight that would be nice to make happen. Especially because of all of the interest abroad to watch us fight. And then, from my constant hearing of how similar we are or how this fight will turn out a certain way, I like to just step and show you how it's going to turn out."
While "The Warmaster" isn't exactly sure where he will stand in a highly competitive 265-pound division should he get a win over Frank, one thing is certain, he's prepared to accept his next assignment and get the job done in the only violent way he knows how:
"Well, one, I'm the defending champion. Two, I don't really know, I don't really know (where he stands). I'm the kind of guy everyone talks about, what they'd like to see or they want to push all the pieces across the board. I just go out, chop the guy's head off and bring it back, put it on top of the board and say, ‘What do you want to do now? What do you have next?' If you tell me I'm fighting for the title, then it will be mine. If you tell me I'm going to fight this other guy, alright, well, then he's done."
Chopping the head off a grizzled veteran such as Mir, who is determined to hang on to his title dreams by avoiding his third straight defeat, will be a task in itself.
One Barnett is confident he will accomplish.