clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Interview: UFC on FOX 18's Josh Barnett confident he can beat 'any Heavyweight on Earth'

New, comments

"Warmaster" has many things on his mind as he gets ready to grace the Octagon for a UFC on FOX 18 co-main event with Ben Rothwell on Sat., Jan. 30, 3016, including his recent war with Roy Nelson, fighting "Big Ben," and capturing a second 265-pound belt.

Ken Ishii/Getty Images

Josh Barnett is a jack of all trades, taking every opportunity to secure a prosperous life outside of mixed martial arts (MMA) when he decides to hang up the four-ounce gloves.

For now, "Warmaster" is content trading blows with the elite in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight division. Barnett, 38, hasn't come close to calling it quits yet, so he says, emphasizing he could be awarded a title shot at any moment because of his extensive track record competing around the globe.

The Erik Paulson-trained submission artist takes on No. 7-ranked Ben Rothwell in the co-main event of UFC on FOX 18 next Saturday night (Jan. 30, 2016), but he took a break from his training camp in California to talk with MMAmania.com about his recent war with Roy Nelson, taking out Rothwell, as well as what capturing a second Heavyweight title would mean to him in part one of a two-part interview.

How did your body feel after your 25-minute battle with "Big Country" last September?

Barnett: It was really more banged up from running my elbows, fists and knees into Roy for 25 minutes. I've been in three, five-round fights I believe ... not a big deal.

Which has been tougher on your body, wrestling or MMA?

JB: MMA has been tougher by far. The training is brutal and the injuries that come from it are vast. You don't get to take any days off when you've got these big fights coming up. Professional wrestling has its own grind in that you're on the road with someone like the WWE -- they're performing day in and day out. They're not getting any breaks. If there was no danger, I don't think we'd like it as much.

Do you see yourself still competing in New Japan Pro Wrestling into your forties?

JB: I could. I mean that was kind of the overall idea when I got into this whole thing. Time will tell and there's all kinds of other things on my plate at the moment. In some ways, if I'm not able to commit as much time to wrestling, because maybe my time doing movies is too invested or my time doing commentary ... I'd like to be able to do everything that I enjoy. We'll have to see.

Do you feel that you can fight out your current UFC contract?

JB: With fights on contract and time, I don't see any reason not to. I've got a great thing going here, I'm making great momentum. This is my second fight on FOX. For me, I can't see any reason not to continue to invest in that and I'm looking forward.

After your fight with Roy, how long was the deliberation process as far as retirement goes? What was that like?

JB: On my end, it was pretty easy. I just needed to take care of what was in front of me. I had Victor [Henry], his big fight coming up in Pancrase. I had to keep him on the path to being the best he can be. Just preparing myself for what needed to get done and trying to catch up on what doesn't get taken care of when I have a big fight coming up. I just waited to hear what UFC had to say and how scheduling was working out, [as well as] what was moving around with my movie projects and what they wanted to do.

Is it kind of disappointing that this bout isn't in New York, but so close? How would you feel if you got to compete there?

JB: It would be awesome to compete in Madison Square Garden, man. That was the home of some of WWE's biggest matches, some of boxing greatest fights. To be in the house that Bruno Sammartino and The Macho Man jumped off the top rope ... that would be great. This time we'll be in Newark and I've performed for the folks in New Jersey more than a few times, in Atlantic City and East Rutherford.

How important would capturing your second Heavyweight title mean for you? How quickly do you think you can get there?

JB: How quickly I get there largely depends on this fight with Ben and how it goes for me. I guess we'll have to see what happens between Cain [Velasquez] and [Fabricio] Werdum II. There's a lot of factors that play in that aren't entirely in my control. What's in my control is if I go out there and win impressively, I will stake my claim for having a right to a title shot. Honestly, you can put me in a title shot anywhere -- in any organization -- and it makes sense because I've held plenty of titles. I can win championship fights and I can beat anyone walking this Earth.

As far as how UFC wants to put things together and what it would mean to me, I know it's worth a minimum of $500,000 or something, but that's enough for me.

Look for the second part of my chat with Josh, where we talk WWE, Ronda Rousey and much more, next week!

For more UFC on FOX 18 news and notes click here and here.