Josh Barnett put the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight division on notice -- and Frank Mir on blast -- last night (Sat., Aug. 31, 2013) in the co-main event of UFC 164, which took place at BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisc., scoring a first round technical knockout stoppage.
However, it was not without controversy.
"War Master" stormed out of his corner from the opening bell to unleash his fury on the former champion, who Barnett considered an imposter because he was the rightful owner of the belt (he was stripped back in 2002 after testing postitive for steroids). In other words, he was a man on a mission, out for mixed martial arts (MMA) redemption.
He got it in less than five minutes.
After slogging it out along the cage for most of the first round, exchanging short blows in tight telephone booth-type quarters, Barnett lifted his right knee and put it square onto the face of Mir, who hit the floor almost immediately. Mir looked defenseless at first, but as Barnett readied for the "kill," he appeared to regain consciousness.
The referee, however, wasn't about to see if Mir was still able to "Intelligently defend" himself from a blood-thirsty Barnett. He dived in and stopped the fight with about 30 seconds remaining in the opening frame, a decision that Mir argued was premature.
It didn't matter -- Barnett was declared the winner, his first inside the Octagon since a win over Randy Couture back in March 2002.