It’s taken over ten years, but on August 31st, Josh Barnett will make his Octagon return when he throws down with Frank Mir at UFC 164. It’s an interesting match-up, not only because of each heavyweight’s abilities and top ten status, but because they are two of the promotion’s most experienced fighters.
What’s crazy is that if you think Mir has been fighting for a long time, since he made his pro debut in 2001, consider that “The Warmaster” made his in 1997. Barnett had already fought professionally for nearly four years before he made his UFC debut in November, 2000. This is why the 35 year-old Barnett was asked to the compare the early days of MMA with the sport today, during a recent media call to promote UFC 164. Here is some of what the charismatic veteran had to say (comment via MMA Fighting.com).
“I fought when there was no money from fighting really,” Barnett noted. “I fought when you couldn’t even buy MMA gear at your local sports store or whatever. We had to make it ourselves. I fought when most of the time we didn’t even wear gloves. We were under attack from all angles. There wasn’t really an audience hardly. There wasn’t much fame. The only real reason to do it was because you just had a never-ending desire to get in there and bathe in blood.”
“I think that a lot of guys fight not for the reasons that we used to fight for,” Barnett said. “There’s a lot of guys that get in here and they just want to get in, make a run, think that they’re going to be famous, make a lot of money, what have you. They fight for glory, where we fought for blood and for honor.”
“There’s still great, true fighters coming out of this, but these guys aren’t quite as tough as they used to be. There’s way better athletes, they’re much better prepared, but some of these guys, they don’t have that grit.”
Interesting comments no? Which is to be expected of course when it comes from Barnett. It’s great to see him back in the UFC.
UFC 164 will be hosted by Milwaukee’s Bradley Center and the main card will be available via pay-per-view. Stay tuned to MMA Frenzy.com for all your coverage.