by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com

Revenge is a dish best
served cold, or so says the Star Trek quote from the famous science fiction
series.  But on Saturday night at
Affliction “Banned,” it will be former Ultimate Fighting Championship and Pride
heavyweight Josh Barnett looking to heat things up as he seeks out retribution
for the first loss of his career, facing Pedro Rizzo at the promotion’s debut


Barnett lost to Rizzo
in a monumental showdown in 2001 that saw the Washington native go to war with
the Brazilian slugger, only to get caught in the second round by a thunderous
shot from his opponent, costing him the knockout loss.


Since that time,
Barnett has won the UFC heavyweight title, an accomplishment that always eluded
Rizzo, and become the open weight King of Pancrase, a
title he still holds.  He fought a “who’s
who” list of top heavyweights while competing in Pride.  And most recently Barnett has signed on
with Japan’s World Victory Road promotion where he sports a 2-0 record, with
impressive wins over Jeff Monson and Hidehiko Yoshida.


For all of those
accomplishments, Barnett’s career will somewhat come full circle on Saturday
night when he faces Rizzo, but will he have a little bit of revenge on his mind
after 7 years?


“A little bit?” Barnett
quipped about the revenge factor.  “He
knocked me out.”


Simply stated and
convincing enough to make anyone believe that he has all the motivation in the
world to perform at his very best against Rizzo.


For his training camp,
Barnett worked along many familiar teammates and coaches, focusing on all
aspects of his game including boxing to prepare of the stand-up of his
opponent.  One particular training
partner has kept him on his toes for this camp as they both prepare for fights
on the same night.


“I love having Babalu (Renato Sobral) around, it’s great,” said Barnett during a recent
appearance on MMAWeekly Radio.  “We
train a lot of wrestling, we throw each other, we work suplexes
and belly-to-belly’s, all this different stuff.  And it feels really cool to be able to work with a guy that
you have that in common with.”


Despite the magnitude
of the rematch for Barnett to get another shot at Rizzo, the one question that
always seems to pop up when talking to the “Baby Faced Assassin” is will the fight
between him and Fedor Emelianenko ever happen?


“All the time.  Every day, 7 days a week, even on
Sunday,” Barnett laughed about the frequency of the Fedor question.  “But I just say to everybody, I don’t
have to fight him. I would fight him. It’s a big match and we’ll pull out all
our stops, but I’ve got to just take care of what’s in front of me, and focus
on what I’ve got to do to be the best I can be.  Once that’s taken care of, then everything else will be just


What Barnett knows for
sure going into this fight is that he will be working with close friends from
Affliction, a company he’s been dealing with for some time, and he believes in
the promotion.


“I think they really
intend to make something big out of this,” he said about Affliction.  “But you know we as fighters have to
make sure we get the job done so they can continue to keep promoting.”


Fans can expect an
exuberant Barnett as he walks down to one of his favorite bands, Bolt Thrower,
and stepping in to face his old foe Pedro Rizzo.  The former UFC champion expects to fight at least one more
time this year, and also work for the IGF promotion in Japan, but for now there
is just one goal in site… Pedro Rizzo.


“I’ve got to pull out
all the stops to do everything that it takes to win,” Barnett said with