September 17, 2010

by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com The announcement was made earlier this week that former UFC champion and Pride stand-out Josh Barnett had signed a multi-fight contract with Strikeforce, and would jump right in the middle of a stacked heavyweight division. With several fight companies vying for his services all over the world, Barnett said the deal with Strikeforce just made sense, and now he’s ready to get to work.

Barnett has fought twice already in 2010, with a win in Dream as well as a victory while competing in Australia. When Strikeforce came along with a deal, Barnett admits it didn’t get done quickly, but ultimately, when the details were hammered out, he was happy with his decision.

“I spoke with several other companies prior to this, and what kind of visibility they were able to offer, and what they could offer in terms of opponents, and just keeping me active, my ability to do work outside of fighting, or even just fighting outside of that company, or professional wrestling work, or if I wanted to do any TV or movie work,” Barnett said about why he signed with Strikeforce.

“When it comes down to it, the thing that matters most to me is being able to fight. I just want to make sure I can get out there and crack as many heads as possible.”

Barnett is currently only under a fight contract to Strikeforce. He cleared up an earlier rumor from 2010 that he was signed to a long-term deal with Dream as well.

“First off, I’d like to say that I’m not signed with Dream, that was just a single fight,” Barnett stated. “It’s not as if I harbor any ill will towards Dream at all, and given the right circumstances I have absolutely no problem fighting for them, but at the same time I didn’t want to limit myself to anybody at any one point until I was sure I was at some place that would have terms that were agreeable to me, or if it was just monetarily worth my while.

“It took a while before getting to a point like that with Strikeforce, but we came to terms and worked it all out.”

Barnett admits that if he signed a long-term deal with Dream that it would limit the possibility of going back to Pancrase or Sengoku. He would like the option to fight for both of them in the future if opportunities arise.

Right now though, Barnett is focused on his career with Strikeforce. He also talked about the exposure that working with a group like Strikeforce gives him, and fighting on Showtime and possibly CBS definitely played a big part in his decision.

“It matters big time,” Barnett commented about the visibility of his fights. “Cause when I dislocate and tear somebody’s head completely off their shoulders and spew blood all over the ring, and then drink it, I want the whole world to see it.

“I’d love to fight on CBS. Punch somebody so hard that their eyeballs pop out of their head.”

As far as timing, nothing has been discussed as of yet for Barnett’s debut, although the “Baby Faced Assassin” would likely end up fighting before the end of 2010. He’s got plenty on his plate to keep him busy until then, and he also believes it’s going to take some convincing by Strikeforce to find anyone willing to step in the cage with him.

“We haven’t really hit on any solid dates yet or anything like that, or even opponents. For me right now, I’m getting ready for my pro wrestling match. I’m training and staying healthy and focusing on that. Then I’ve get Megumi Fujii’s fight at the end of this month, Sept. 30 in the semifinal round of Bellator. So I’ve definitely got plenty of stuff to keep me busy right now,” said Barnett.

“In due time. There’s not too many people all that chomping at the bit and so ready to meet their death.”

Several sources have stated Strikeforce has plans of a major show this year in December. Whether Barnett ends up being a part of that remains to be seen, but he will definitely be a major edition to the growing Strikeforce line-up.