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UFC’s Josh Barnett Details Why Catch Wrestling is One Nasty, Violent Art

Kelsey Mowatt


If you’ve followed the fighting career of Josh Barnett, then you know that much of “The Warmaster’s” success, has come through his ability to snap the bones of his opponents or choke them senseless. You also likely know that Barnett is pretty damn proud of this fact, and that his renowned ground skills have been heavily developed through the art of catch wrestling.

Recently, Barnett’s grappling skills have been receiving a ton of praise, following his submission win over Dean Lister at Metamoris 4 last month. If you’ve been known to yell ‘come on, just stand and bang; none of this ground sh-t’ during fights, then you probably don’t realize that Lister is one of the best grapplers on the planet. The guy reportedly hadn’t been submitted in over 15 years before facing Barnett. So, yeah, tapping out Lister was a pretty, pretty, pretty big deal.

Recently Barnett spoke with MMA’s Luke Thomas, and talked in lengthy about his bout with Lister, and the art of catch wrestling. Barnett has characterized catch wrestling as the “violent art” in the past, and during the aforementioned interview, he expanded on why:

So, I guess they’re not all that dissimilar from what we do, but the catch wrestler, we try to punish you, break you down, wear you out. You want to be as heavy on top as you can absolutely be, you want your opponent to carry as much of your weight as you can because that’s exhausting. It wears a person out. It doesn’t give them the opportunity to rest in a position and gather their wits.

The other thing is using the elbows, the shins, the bones of your body to crank and discomfort, apply pain to a person with the properly used half of an elbow when you’re on top in side control, you can maybe use the point of the elbow to dislocate the mandible on somebody’s face. Or drive into the orbital bone on their eye socket and crack it. There’s a lot of techniques like that. If a guy is too tough and he won’t open up, then you find a way to make him open up.

Yes, breaking an opponent’s orbital bone with your elbow certainly does classify as violent no? It’s a really interesting interview,¬†as not only is Barnett an expert on catch-wrestling, he’s extremely knowledgeable about its history. The 36 year-old is also passing along his knowledge to others through training and instructing them.

It should also be noted that Barnett was awarded a second degree, black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu by Rigan Machado. So, the heavyweight is definitely a terrifying force on the ground.

As far as MMA, it remains to be seen when Barnett will return to the Octagon, following his KO loss to Travis Browne last December. The veteran fighter has relayed that he’s hoping to return to action soon.


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