by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Josh Barnett, the number four ranked heavyweight in the world by MMAWeekly’s worldwide rankings, took offense to UFC president Dana White’s comments during the UFC 74 post-fight press conference that no one in the world can beat Randy Couture. Barnett issued a challenge to the UFC to make him a legitimate offer, and he’d prove White’s statements false.
“At the press conference Randy didn’t have anything particularly to say that was inflammatory, but Dana, on the other hand, had to putwords in his mouth and sort of write checks on Randy’s behalf by saying, ‘there isn’t anybody in the world that can beat this guy.’ And I’m standing right there, and he’s already seen me. It’s just bull crap. I already beat him within two [rounds], not to mention, nobody is invincible.”
“That just goes without saying. Two of the absolute best heavyweights in the world aren’t even in the UFC, and he claims they’re going to get them all. I asked him when, and he said, ‘soon.’ B.S.,” said the twenty-nine year old heavyweight contender.
Barnett doesn’t think the UFC is trying or wants to sign certain highly ranked fighters. He commented, “They’re not really making efforts to get them all, and that’s because to get someone like myself or Fedor [Emelianenko] in there would ruin their entire propaganda that they’ve been trying to build up for so long that only what’s within the UFC is really what counts, and is only the real truth of MMA. It’s not MMA anymore, it’s Ultimate Fighting, and that’s crap.”
He continued, “It’s more of their whole UFC propaganda notion in that things that happened before the Spike TV explosion didn’t really happen. I beat him. I took him out by TKO in under two rounds, and that’s the truth of the matter. It wasn’t that Randy was a bad fighter, or anything like that. I was the better person that night, and I know if we were to fight again I strongly believe that I’m still the better fighter.”
Asked if the UFC has made him a serious offer, Barnett replied, “Not in my opinion, certainly not in my opinion. It’s ignorant to think that someone like myself, or another high level heavyweight doesn’t have an idea of what kind of figures, and contracts, and sorts of things that are offered to the top guys and top fighters in the world. So don’t come at somebody with something less than that. Don’t insult them by making a very patronizing offer and act like we’re all that there is and you need us. I’m not down for that. If they want to be serious, I’ve already said before I’d fight in the UFC. I have no problem doing that. And besides the fact that Randy’s got the title, whatever, even if he didn’t have the belt, to say somebody is unbeatable, someone is going to say something about it.”
He added, “They’ve got the money and ability to make what they want happen to have happen…. They say they want the best in the world, well, they actually have to have them. Even right now, if you ask me, their champ, he’s not ranked any higher than five. There’s already people out there ranked higher than him that they don’t even have.”
“I’ve been here from the beginning, not to mention, they have a title reign that has never been taken off of me. I left the UFC. No matter what, [Andrei] Arlovski never beat me for that belt, neither did Ricco [Rodriguez], neither did [Tim] Sylvia, for sure, and then Randy just comes out of retirement and steps in and gets an automatic title shot. Fine. If that’s the way they want to do it, but from my perspective I don’t need a title shot. All I need is, just put me in the ring. If you say he’s unbeatable, let his arm heal, and we’ll go out there and see how unbeatable he is.”
Barnett would like to fight before the end of the year, but said it’s not in his hands. Questioned how frustrating it is for him to be on the sidelines watching rather than competing, Josh responded, “It’s incredibly frustrating because it’s not a matter of anything that I am doing. It’s just a matter of not, in my opinion, getting legitimate offers, simply put.”
“Sitting back watching almost a decade’s worth of MMA being re-written by some guys, and that’s just a slap in the face of everybody who ever got into this in the beginning that didn’t even make a dime when we first started fighting, and didn’t even have promotions, and traveled the world to try to do everything we could to become mixed martial artists as we have today. It’s just completely disrespectful.”
“Not to mention, we’re not retired. We’re still friggen here, and training hard, and proving our mettle amongst the best in the world. Putting us on a back burner trying to act like we don’t exist, that’s either because they’re scared, they’re cowards and they don’t want us to ruin their sand castle, or they’re just spiteful.”
Josh went on to say, “If Dana wants to make such a bold statement about the champ I’ve already beaten, then put his money where he mouth is. If he really believes he’s unbeatable, and they don’t want to lose their token belt they have right now, fine. Go ahead, make a deal. I’ll go out and fight him. I don’t need that belt. I’ve already got my own. I’m completely happy with it. Randy’s a competitor and I know he’ll fight anybody, so there’s not going to be any issue on his side.”
“Basically what it comes down to is if Dana wants to run his mouth, don’t say something that you’re not going to back up. You challenged all the boxing guys. You challenged Floyd Mayweather Jr. You make all these challenges, well, here, you said something; I’m putting a challenge to him. Step up. You claimed that they were all cowards and they didn’t have the balls to step up and laughed about it. Well, now I’m saying, look, you’re a coward. You’re not stepping up, and you made this statement, and I’m willing to prove you wrong.”
“Most people know that’s an erroneous statement to make in the first place, so I wouldn’t be completely surprised if he completely avoided it, backed away form it and tried to ignore it, and just forgot it ever happened because it’s not something he wants and he knows it’s something he can’t win.”
Barnett made it clear he has nothing personally against Randy Couture. His issue is with Dana White’s statements. About Couture, Barnett said, “It was cool to see Randy go out there and prove that to be a champion you’ve got to have a bunch of fights under your belt, put under the pressure cooker, and have worked your way to the top. One big win does not make a title contention. … He’s a
Washingtonian, and I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. We’ve trained together.”
Asked if he thought a rematch with Couture would play out any differently now than their first bout at UFC 36 back in March of 2002, Barnett said, “No, I don’t. I think I can still finish him in either the first or second round, submission or stoppage. When he fights me, it’s not the best person for him to fight. He can beat other people, but I’m not one of them.”
When contacted for comment, UFC president Dana White responded, “Nobody gives a sh*t about Josh Barnett, especially me.”
Assassin isn’t in his “Baby Faced Assassin” moniker for nothing. It equally applies to Barnett’s straight-forward nature as it does to his fighting ability. He says what he means and means what he says. Love him or hate him, believe him or not, what fan wouldn’t want to see Josh Barnett back in the UFC?