The “BABYFACE ASSASSIN” – A Josh Barnett Exclusive Interview
By Dave Carpinello
PDG: It has been awhile since most mixed martial arts fans have heard from you. What have you been doing?
Josh Barnett: I have been keeping busy in other areas of the fight game. I have been training other fighters like Ginele Marquez, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Justin Levins and others. I have been keeping busy working with other fighters to help them find that path to success in their careers. Since I started working with them only one of our fighters has lost. I also just got done shooting a TV show in New York called Pancrase: Legends of MMA for Imagination TV. That show will start airing on November 7th. Also the episode of the Human Weapon on the History channel that aired last Friday.
PDG: The Human Weapon show that aired last week. How was that experience and what did you think of Jason Chambers and Bill Duff?
Josh Barnett: I haven’t actually gotten to see the episode yet. I do know that the segment couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes long but we filmed for hours. It was so hot in there and we couldn’t have the fans on…..it was sweltering. The funny thing is that they were telling me that they were going to go from my gym to Randy Couture’s gym and they wanted me to teach them the double leg takedown. I was thinking why don’t you have Randy teach that. I mean he is the wrestler. That would be like going over to Randy and asking him to show you some leg locks. What would be the point? I obliged them though. I had a fun time working on the show though. Jason and Bill were nice guys and we all got along ok. It was a good experience and I would be willing to do another episode with them. Maybe even something a little more involved. I like the direction of the show and no…..Bill didn’t try to use any of his strength against me.
PDG: On September 8th you had a match with Don Frye at the IGF show in Nagoya, Japan. How did that turn out?
Josh Barnett: It went really well. Don and I were the main event for the second IGF pro-wrestling show over in Japan. The event was held down south in Nagoya which is notoriously a difficult area for pro-wrestling. Even the fight companies have had a lot of trouble with getting sell-outs down there. Don and I were able to sell out the arena though with over 8,000 fans. We went down there with Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman. We all worked on the card and Erik Paulson had his first pro wrestling match. Myself and Don fought for about 14 minutes and I was able to put him away at the end.
PDG: Coleman and Randleman were with you. How are those two guys doing?
Josh Barnett: They are doing great. They have been working Hustle and the IGF. I think that they are just biding their time staying in shape and looking for an opportunity to get back into the fight game. In the meantime they have been doing real well on the pro-wrestling circuit.
PDG: What is on the horizon for Josh? Any upcoming news about where you will sign and do you have any scheduled fights or matches coming up?
Josh Barnett: Not any new news on where I will be signing. I’m still in talks with several different promotions but nothing has been signed and there are no plans for a fight yet. I am hoping though to have at least one fight before the end of the year. Beyond that I am going to continue to work in Japan with IGF. They might be having another show in December and I would like to go back there and get in the ring. Even if I sign with someone else I will still be fighting with IGF in Japan.
PDG: Let’s talk Randy Couture and Dana White. What are your thoughts on Randy and Dana’s comment that he is “unbeatable”?
Josh Barnett: I am very impressed with his performance. Randy has done real well for himself and as a fan it is great to see him get back in the cage and show that he is still a very highly skilled athlete. For him to go out and beat on the younger bucks like Gabriel Gonzaga… Although Gonzaga has only fought two top guys and he is 1-1 against them. He had lost to Fabricio Werdum and then he beat Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. I didn’t really expect much out of him (Gonzaga) but I think he has some time to grow. It was good though to see Randy look so sharp in the ring. My only complaint was when Dana White made the comment that nobody in the world could beat Randy. That is just bs because anybody can lose and I know that first hand Randy can lose.
PDG: The tone of your voice sounds like you and Dana are good friends again.
Josh Barnett: You know that is just business and you can’t just make blanket statements. I am not one who will sit back and let people say whatever the hell they want to and let it get passed off as truth. If you let people say stuff enough times without challenging the validity of the story eventually people will accept that as truth. I am not going to let anyone go out there and say something fictitious and let it sink in and become truth in the public’s view.
PDG: If it was possible, would like to step in the cage with Randy before he retires again?
Josh Barnett: Of course but it is never going to happen. I would love too. I have a lot of respect for him and he is the champion. It would be a big fight and I am all about giving the fans the fights they will appreciate.
PDG: Since you are a former PRIDE veteran. What is your opinion on the performances by the former PRIDE fighters that are in the UFC now?
Josh Barnett: I have no idea why some are struggling to adjust. With Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he just made one mistake and ran into Heath Herring’s leg. That is a big leg so it is going to take some steam out of you. Nog recovered well and I think that other than that kick he dominated the rest of the fight. At the same time Quinton Jackson and Anderson Sylva in my eyes are PRIDE fighters. So you could say that PRIDE owns two belts in the UFC right now. Both of those guys fought almost all their fights and made their name in PRIDE. They are PRIDE fighters. It is easy to throw a WFA before he went to the UFC. label on Jackson because he is American. He only fought one fight in the cage with WFA.
PDG: How surprised have you been by Cro Cop’s performance?
Josh Barnett: I have been shocked. I don’t know what it is that is holding him back right now but it is taking a big toll on his performance.
PDG: Do you think he can recover and come back?
Josh Barnett: Its going to be hard but the money is really good. So I am sure he wants to.
PDG: Back to the fighters that you are training. The UFC cut Babalu after the controversial ending to his fight with David Heath. Then on Saturday night at the Playboy Mansion, Strikeforce announced that they had signed him to contract. What do you think about that and how will Babalu do with the new company?
Josh Barnett: I think it is a great move for him. I think that Strikeforce is lucky to get that opportunity. It was a bum deal that Dana cut him after that scenario. I think that honestly Dana was just using it as an excuse to get rid of Babalu so he didn’t have to pay him. If he was a cheaper fighter it may not have been such a big deal. He was making $25k to fight and $25k for a victory. In Dana’s eyes he was probably thinking shit I don’t want to pay that anymore. So here is my opportunity to get rid of him.
PDG: Is there someone you are currently training that maybe the casual MMA fan hasn’t heard about and should be watching for?
Josh Barnett: Well Erik Paulson just came out of retirement. He is one of the pioneers of mixed martial arts and he was fighting before there ever was a UFC. He has a fight coming up on HDnet fights on October 13th against Jeff Ford. Erik is a walking encyclopedia of submission techniques and MMA knowledge in general. I think he will give a great performance and make quick work of Jeff Ford.
PDG: A lot of fighters have been testing positive for a variety of illegal substances. What are your thoughts on the topic?
Josh Barnett: I think it is a combination of things. I think that some of it is the extra testing that is going on at each show. As you will notice there are a lot more fighters getting caught for smoking marijuana and using meth and cocaine. I had never heard of anyone getting caught for using cocaine before now. The same things happen in boxing but the media doesn’t cover it as much. Roy Jones Jr. has been caught using steroids but you would have to go look it up to find it. The other thing is the growing supplement market. It is a lot bigger, varied and more expansive. Also, I have been told that if you drink to much coffee before a fight that you can test positive for meth. So there you go, if you drank a double latte before your fight and then tested positive for meth they are not going to say “ok we understand if you drink to much coffee and according to our ring doctor that can make you test positive”. We are just going to fine you and suspend you anyway.
PDG: Let’s finish up with your future. What organization would like to be fighting in?
Josh Barnett: I would like to be fighting in Pancrase. I would love to continue fighting there and hopefully I will get a chance to defend my belt this year. I have had some trouble with getting promoters to honor what they agreed to and cooperate with Pancrase to get a match set-up. So now that I am a free agent I would like to do it.
PDG: Thanks for your time Josh. Do you have anything else for your fans?
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