Having been around mixed martial arts (MMA) for nearly two decades, UFC heavyweight contender Josh Barnett knows what company brass wants to see.
They want a confident, viable threat who can put asses in seats and also promote themselves. Mark each of those characteristics down in the case of "The Warmaster," who meets the No. 7-ranked Ben Rothwell in a pivotal co-main event tilt on the UFC on FOX 18 card tonight (Sat., Jan. 30, 2016) in Newark, New Jersey.
With a decisive victory over "Big Ben" in "Dirty Jersey," Barnett could see himself vault right into title contention in the 265-pound division seeing as how injuries have hindered both champion and No. 1 contender of late.
He explains to MMA Noise just what's up for grabs on Saturday:
"I think so, especially with the recent fight falling through [UFC 196] ... both challenger and champion falling due to injury. I think whoever wins this fight, depending on how it goes anyway, I think they're right in line for that next title shot ... It's also how you win. It's not just about being exciting but if you go out there and dismantle your opponent ... you just finish them. That's a strong showing and they're going to want to see a guy who looks like he's on his way to dismantling his opponents every time he gets in the ring. They want to have a challenger who seems like he can potentially dethrone the champion."
Barnett is a former heavyweight champion and veteran of 41 professional fights. The 38-year-old ground ace helped create some of the most memorable bouts in MMA history.
Currently 2-1 in his latest UFC tenure, Barnett stands to gain much ground in the title conversation with a win over Rothwell, who was last seen choking out Matt Mitrione in June 2015.
The former PRIDE FC star told MMAmania.com this month that Rothwell's fighting style is similar to that of his last opponent, Roy Nelson, saying that "you don't want to be on the other end of their shots at revenge." Barnett defeated "Big Country" via unanimous decision back at UFC Fight Night 75 last September.