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Two Old School Heavyweights Go New School at UFC 164 with Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir

Posted on by MMAWeekly.com Staff

Josh Barnett StrikeforceJosh Barnett’s return to the UFC was announced just one week ago, but he already has his first bout scheduled.

Barnett will square off with former UFC champion Frank Mir at UFC 164 on Aug. 31 in Milwaukee, according to UFC officials.

It’s been more than 11 years since Barnett (32-6) last competed inside the UFC’s famed Octagon.  He fought five times in the promotion, amassing a 4-1 record, including capturing the heavyweight title at UFC 36 by defeating now UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture.

The Seattle native was stripped of the title after failing a post-fight drug test for banned substances. He then embarked on an international career that included winning the Pancrase Openweight Championship. Barnett advanced to the finals of the 2006 Pride Openweight Tournament and the 2011 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

The 35-year-old also competed in Dream and the now defunct Affliction organization.

Barnett lost in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix final to Daniel Cormier, but enters the fight with Mir coming off of a first-round submission victory over Nandor Guelmino at the final Strikeforce event in January.

Mir (16-7) has been one of the greatest submission artists the UFC heavyweight division has ever seen.

He is a former UFC heavyweight champion and interim heavyweight champion.

Mir went on a three-fight winning streak in 2010 and 2011, setting him up for another shot at the title, but failed to capture the belt from Junior dos Santos.

He was then charged with welcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier to the Octagon, but Cormier took Mir the distance, dominating the fight and winning the decision.

Mir entered the UFC about the time that Barnett made his exit, debuting at UFC 34 in 2001. He is now charged with welcoming the Warmaster back to the Octagon.

UFC 164 takes place on Aug. 31 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

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  • shakejunt

    this is the fight that should’ve happened instead of mir vs cormier. should be a good test to see where barnett stands in the pack.

    • Ian Price

      Agree! Lets hope for a fun fight.

  • Baller31

    Interesting matchup….Barnett likes submissions but no way he submits Mir

    • Truth

      true, but no way Mir submits Barnett either. Only reason why he got Nog was his size and strength advantage

      • Maddawgmar

        Barnett is no way near the level of Nogueira in BJJ. Barnett would not sub Nog. And the reason Mir subbed Nog, is because he is better than Nog.

        • Matte

          You simplify things to much. The technical skill level of Nogueira is far beyond Barnett BJJ-wise ofcourse but Barnett only has to defend and is stronger than Nog aswell as a much better wrestler. He will likely not be in a position to be submitted.

        • barnettoo

          oh god.

          u r dooomb.

          • http://iansomnia.com Japsican

            You’re an idiot.

          • barnettoo

            u r doomb

          • http://iansomnia.com Japsican

            I’m “doomb?”

      • Baller31

        I think Mir can definitely submit Barnett. He has submitted bigger and stronger (Lesnar, Kongo) and much better jiu jitsu practitioners (Nogueira). I also think he strikes better than Barnett.

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    A lot of us have been wanting this match for a while now and it’s finally happening. I know most people wanted this instead of Mir/Cormier. That fight was just horrible but this one will be entertaining everywhere it goes. Mir really needs this win, he’s still young but a loss to Barnett will really set him back. Mir/Werdum is interesting and hopefully those two will cross paths at some point.

    • Supaman

      Werdum would be a better match-up for Mir than Barnett.

      Barnett has the advantage standing & wrestling. Mir has a slight edge in BJJ but Barnett is big/strong enough and skilled enough to avoid Mir’s subs.

      Mir would at least have the advantage on Werdum in his striking. Mir would also have a slight size/strength advantage.

      • Maddawgmar

        I think your talking out of your ass. Only place Barnett has the advantage is wrestling. Stand up, Barnetts stand up is just plain sloppy. Mir has some improved striking, and actually has KO’d ppl of his feet. As for a slight edge in BJJ, your outside your mind. Mir is by far the MOST skilled BJJ heavyweight in the UFC, ask Nogueira.

        I see Mir winning this. I’m not impressed with Barnett at all.

        • julian moran

          “Mir is by far the MOST skilled BJJ heavyweight in the UFC”
          You realize world bjj champion Fabricio Werdum fights in the ufc hw division?

          • Baller31

            I agree with Madda…Mir is the most skilled heavyweight submission artist in the world…and while Werdum lost to Nogueira, Mir beat him twice in spectacular fashion.

          • barnettoo

            that’s because you are a UFC noob that never watched PRIDE fights.

          • Baller31

            I’ve watched UFC from UFC 1, and the only one here who sounds like a newb is you with your weak ass argument based on nothing but your uneducated opinion.

          • Maddawgmar

            Nothing against Werdum. Two BJJ world championships is very impressive. He couldn’t submit Nog, and Mir did. I could be wrong and Werdum may one day fight Mir and submit him, who knows. But until then I believe Mir is better.

          • barnettoo

            Dude. Werdum fought Nog when he was a newb and Nog was at his peak.

            Mir fought a washed up Nog.

            I can’t believe you just made that argument.

          • Maddawgmar

            He was a “newb”? He was fighting MMA for four years. And he had already won two BJJ world championships. And who is to say when Nog was washed up? All I am saying is I think is Mir is the better submission artist IMO in the UFC. Maybe they fight and maybe in proved wrong, but that is my honest belief.

          • julian moran

            That’s like saying Mir lost to Vera, and Werdum beat Vera, therefore Werdum is better then Mir..

            Everyone can get caught, even bjj black belts. The kimura is an easy submission to catch others with.

        • http://iansomnia.com Japsican

          Talk about talking out of your ass! Barnett has the advantage in striking and wrestling, and his Jits are about even with Mir. You donks are giving Mir far too much credit for subbing the likes Silvia and Lesnar…and as someone else said, Nog was washed up.

        • julian moran

          By the way Barnett also KO’d people of his feet.

        • John Bunch

          “Talking out of your ass”…? wth dude, we’re all just talking out of our a$$es here if you want to be truly objective. I left Sherdog to get away from all the childish one-up-manship…you bring some good opinions to the table, but I just don’t get the personal attacks. Maybe Josh isn’t Apollo Creed on his feet…but he’s no slouch and the dude has been through some wars on his feet with some of the sport’s best. I like both of these guys and I think this could be a great fight! But discounting Barnett like he’s some smaller promotion noob moving up to the big time is crazy. Just my two cents anyway.

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        Although Wedrum has improved in his striking I do agree Mir would have the edge. Mirs boxing is very crisp. Barnett has been around a long time and I actually hope this fight goes to the ground so both guys can showcase their high level grappling skills against one another.

        • julian moran

          Mir has a suspect chin and is a pretty slow striker. I give the striking advantage to both Werdum and Barnett over Mir.

          • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

            I’d really like to see Mir/Werdum. Wedrum looked really good in his fight against Nelson.

  • CharlieMMAFAN

    Anything can happen but I’m taking Barnett in this fight, Cormier even said he was tougher than Mir was, hopefully it will be good, too bad it’s not a 5 round fight but oh well, this fight is WAY, WAY, WAY LONG OVERDUE but the UFC is famous for missing great opportunities and great match ups and either cutting guys first or forcing them to retire before they even book the great fights and legendary fights or often anyways!

    • Maddawgmar

      Well if Cormier said it, it must be true.

      • barnettoo

        haha! good one.

        I can’t stand it when dummb kids cite a fighter’s opinion of someone else as evidence that it must be true.

        “Even Anderson Silva said Fedor is better than him!! Therefore Fedor IS better than him!!!” <–unfortunately hearsays don't really prove much.

        • Guest

          You’re both flagrantly inaccurately characterizing what the person said. He merely made a prediction and cited some anecdotal evidence, but didn’t imply a high degree of probability to what he predicted. Making predictions is a good way to LEARN, as you can learn from your failures as much as your mistakes, and so is not something to ridicule. If you want to learn a lot about argument, pick up an introductory textbook to critical thinking, epistemology, or philosophy.

  • The Best Eva

    Fight sounds good, Barnett by beat down.

  • insane187288

    this is mirs dream. if he looses decisively he is done but if he stands in there or wins then great. I really think, with all due respect, Mir is the better Kongo. Stepping stone, if you beat him your in the next tier. With no disrespect to mir at all but he is the best stepping stone for anyone.. you beat him your a top hw.

    • Lucas Freire

      Everybody is a stepping stone for someone. And that’s exactly why he’s a top tier HW. lol
      He already got 3 title shots and got the belt once,I don’t see how someone like him can be a “better Kongo”

      • barnettoo

        everyone is a stepping stone for someone else.

        I mean..it is difficult to call mid-level HW guys in the UFC as a gatekeeper. That would be disrespectful.

        Mir can still beat 99% of the HWs out there.

  • drkdisciple

    I am tired of seeing Frank Mir get beat up and that is exactly what will happen in this fight. Even him still being ranked in the top 10 is just another example of how weak the heavyweight division is.

    • Karen Meade

      Tired? Bite your tongue! There is no more pleasing television than listening to Mir wax poetic about how great he is, proceeding to get his ass whipped, then talking even more.

      • John Bunch

        I like Mir…but that was funny!

        • barnettoo

          how could you like that dude. Most of the UFC fighters think he is full of himself.

          Mir has done stuff that makes him look stupid. Let me just highlight Mir’s career since the Brock fight.

          1. He beats Brock.
          2. At this time he is still not that arrogant given his recent KO to Vera. So he praises Nog and Fedor.
          3. He beats Nog.
          4. He goes on to talk crap on Brock. “Oh..as a martial artist…I want to prove to Brock that martial arts can over come power and size…bla bla”
          5. Then he gets killed
          6. Then he starts going on a rampage about how he wants to kill Brock and how Fedor and Nog suck.

          7. He then gets the idea that the only reason why Brock beat him is because of the size difference. So he bulks up to 265lbs.
          8. He talks talks talks about how he is always trying to improve and talks talks talks about how he can beat anyone since he is now 265lbs.
          9. He beats Kongo.
          10. He talks talks talks.
          11. He gets destroyed by Carwin.
          12. He doesn’t talk. He is quite for some time.
          13. He beats Cro Cop, Nelson and Nog.
          14. Then he feels his relevance in the UFC fading away. He loses to JDS. Overeem destroys Brock. And yeah Mir was dismissive of Overeem and said Brock would kill him.

          15.Then he talks talks again prior to his bout with DC, probably because he was insecure about whether he could beat DC or not.
          16. He loses to DC.
          17. The dude disappears from Tweeter for like a month.

          18. Just a couple days ago he came out for the first time since the loss to DC to say, “oh..it was a boring fight…I wanted some action..DC just pinned me to the cage to play it safe…he doesn’t want to go to the ground….but at the end of the day a win is a win so there you go.”
          19. And….I’ll bet you he is going to start talking smack on Barnett very soon.

          I WISH BARNETT PUTS THIS CLOWN AWAY!!

          • John Bunch

            I’m definitely pulling for Barnett…he’s probably the one MMA fighter I’d like to party with and go see a concert with…death metal/grindcore fan…I just like Mir’s television demeanor. Don’t know much about his private life.

      • drkdisciple

        good comeback…even gave you a thumbs lol

    • barnettoo

      HW division is stronger than the MW division. There is a real why you are keeping seeing old faces in the HW division. HWs have a longer career span than lighter weights.

      Right now the HW division is by far the most interesting division. It could have been more interesting had Carwin and Brock not retired. I want to see Brock vs Roy Nelson. Carwin vs Barnett. Carwin vs Hunt..etc.

      • drkdisciple

        Hw the most interesting division? are you serious? Right now no one can beat Cain…the only guy that might have a chance is Cormier and he doesnt want to fight cain. Look at the top 10 rankings Anonio Silva Destroyed by cain twice (2-3 in his last 5 fights). Overeem a huge question mark, Mir all talk and no action (4-4 in his last 8 fights). Big Nog once my favorite fighter now only a shadow of his old self, looks old and slow (3-3 in his last 6 fights). Mark Hunt a stand up fighter with no ground game, him being ranked 10th is a joke in itself over all record 9-8. this is a far cry from the HW in the PRIDE area!!

        • barnettoo

          What are you talking about.

          We don’t know what will happen in JDS vs Cain III.

          Cormier is a good addition to the UFC.

          The UFC HW division is WAAAY better than even the PRIDE HW division.

          What are you saying? Pride didn’t have Arlovski, Sylvia, Mir, and Randy. So even at its peak it didn’t have all the top 10 fighters.

          Give me a break. The UFC HW division right now has all of the top ten fighters in the world.

          Hunt was ranked pretty high in PRIDE too buddy. He beat Mirko CroCop at his prime.

        • Baller31

          I agree with most of what you said…but you totally neglected to mention JDS…who already knocked Cain out once and has a good shot at beating him again…otherwise, HW definitely not one of the stronger divisions due to the fact that JDS and Cain are on a different level than the rest of the division, and have pretty much cleaned it out. The lightweight division is always stacked, with no dominant champion…Henderson only wins by decisions..and controversial ones at that…so LW has my vote for most interesting division.

  • julian moran

    That’s the fight we wanted.

  • julian moran

    Barnett is better on the feet and has much better wrestling and ground control.

    They are however both dangerous on the ground. I hope Barnett will give Mir his first submission loss.

    • Baller31

      Yeah….that’s about as likely as Nick Diaz saying no to a bong hit…

    • CSD

      You are right brother. Josh will beat him up and then sub Mir. Josh is a Catch Wrestler, and his skill level is unbelievable! Just ask all the BJJ champions he has walked thru in training. Josh will stop Mir in this fight. Catch as Catch Can!!!

      • Baller31

        Please…name one BJJ champion Barnett has submitted? Just one??

        • barnettoo

          in the gym/dojo….supposedly a few.

          in real life….none.

        • julian moran

          Has Mir beat a bjj champion? Yet you believe in his skills.

          • Baller31

            um, yeah he did..he submitted Nogueira…world champion brown belt…3rd place in world black belt…but my comment was in reference to CSD saying Barnett walks through BJJ champions.

      • The Best Eva

        I think it will be tough for him to sub Mir, Mir’s shown that he is tough to tap even when nearly out of the fight, I think it will stay standing and be a tko or decision.

  • james velasquez

    AWESOME! Important fight for both fighters.

  • JDMMA

    anyone else could care less about htis bout?

    • John Bunch

      Must just be you…pretty stoked myself. I think you’ll be surprised if you really think it’s a boring matchup.

  • Sean Deblat

    wow i’m pumped for this!

  • julian moran

    Mir’s bjj is over rated because (props to him) he caught Nogueira.
    I even think Gonzaga and Big Foot have better jiu jitsu then Mir.
    Did Roy Nelson not beat Mir in a jiu-jitsu tournament?

    Anyone who thinks Mir’s jiu-jitsu is better then Werdum’s is just.. uneducated.

    • Pizza boy

      Amen bro!

  • mike bowler

    mir vs traven look it up

  • sean

    one of the reasons i love mma is to see how different styles do in real fights. catch wrestling vs bjj is one such matchup. I want to see this fight for just this reason