JOSH BARNETT
    - Shad D. de Guzman


    How was your flight?

    It was horrible, the plane caught on fire and then we're attacked by dragons and I swear that I saw the ghost of Jose Rizal and I was like "Oh my, we're going to die." Naah! It wasn't that bad. (laughs)


    Having notable wins over Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera, Mark Hunt, Randy Couture, Aleksander Emilianenko, Dan Severn, and Yuki Kondo, are there any particular fighters out there that you would like to compete with?

    Right now, the biggest thing I'm going to compete with is my stress factor, making sure my team is all good to go, rounding everybody up, making sure they're all here to do the medicals. Fightwise? Things are going to come, I want my third and final fight with Noguiera, that would be really important to me and I know I can finish that guy, I almost finished him twice. And he's a submission master but I had all the submissions, so just and that alone I know there's a huge fight waiting to happen.

    The fights are going to happen, and for me, just getting in the ring after being out for a year I just want to fight so bad. Jeff Monson made his flight by six (6) minutes, he almost missed it and I'm like, "I'm going to have to fight in the Philippines then," so you guys almost got a trade. It would really sucks for his opponent but ... got to win.


    Would you consider fighting Mirko Cro Cop again in the near future?

    Sure! If that's how it came down. I don't go out there to pick the people I fight, I guess I need to start working towards that, because that sounds like a whole lot better idea than doing it the other way. But it is how it is, the fights are going to present themselves, I need to fight to be number one (1), those are the fights I got to take, none of them are going to be easy so I better be prepared.


    Tell us something about your youth days growing up in Ballard High School in Seattle, Washington. Was it tough? I mean were you ever bullied?

    No I was never bullied, but I kept to my own friends, I played a lot of athletics, I really discovered sports in high school, I'm really glad I did because it really helped me develop that competitive side that is a really powerful part of who I am, that really helped push me in a lot of directions, I'm glad I really got into sports; Football, Wrestling, Track & Field. It was all really important for me, it just sort of helped me hone my purpose and I always knew I was capable of doing things, but through doing athletics I found that there was something about sports and whatnot that I really excelled at. And I would never have known that if I haven't bothered to do those sort of things.

    You know in Ballard? I got to eat plenty of lumpia, pansit, adobo, and all that. We have Filipino populace. I can say a few other words, but I think I'll just stick to "Mabuhay" and "Salamat, Walang Anuman," that'll work for me. (smiles)


    You're also known as "Otaku" by your fans from Japan, please tell us more about it.

    Otaku is Japanese for dork, and I'm just a huge dork, geek, nerd. I'll do that; I'll go with that. As long as I can be the "World's Toughest Geek." I like video games, I was playing my Play Station Portable (PSP) on the way over, I read science fiction novels, I like comic books and Japanese animation. It's all those kind of stuff, dorky stuff but nonetheless I think I'm a good example that you can like anything you want so you can be as nerdy as you can be, but that doesn't have anything to do with what you can accomplish, or whether you can fight or not.


    Tell us more about your experience fighting in the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Organization.

    Oh man what an amazing experience! You know some people like to really discredit Professional Wrestling but it's been a huge factor in creating a fighter that I am. It's a big reason why I even got into fighting, so to go into tour in a country like that and wrestle every night, go from hotel to hotel and get to see the whole country, but in the end we were end up in a place 12,000, 30,000, 50,000 fans and going out there competing in that environment really made me a better fighter. I can honestly say it was a highlight moment of my life.


    Would you say that your bout with Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera last December 31, 2006 during the Pride FC "Shockwave" ended with a fair judgment with regard to their decision?

    I have to look at it that way because I didn't finish him. When I don't finish a fighter anything can happen, any judgment can be rendered whether it's fair it's not in my control. If I don't want to be on the receiving end of a bad judgment, then I should knock him out or submit him, then I never have to worry about that. If I look at it from a judging perspective, how would I've judged it? ... I thought I won the fight. But then that doesn't really matter, because in the end they get to make the decision, so I have to accept it. And I'm sure arguments can be made, but I'm not here to argue about who won, he got the win. All I'm saying is, let me get my hands on him.


    A rematch?

    Yeah!


    If you were to decide, how would you change the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)?

    I would remove elbows; they are an awesome weapon and something I actually really excelled at, but I think that it's too easy to cost cuts with the elbow strikes, and I think stopping people from getting lacerated because lacerations they can carry on and create scar tissue in your face and cost issues for later on in life. If the tissues open up, you lose more fights by cuts and cost kinds of problems. That's not the sort of thing that ... you would hate to lose that way. You know what I would have? I would have knees on the ground to a grounded opponent, I'll have soccer kicks, head stomps, like Pride FC Rules and in fact I would have yellow cards as well. I really think that, I don't care about whether it's a ten-minute round or a five-minute round, or whether it's a cage or a ring, but I think it's important to things like yellow card and really aggressive refereeing to keep those fighters honest, to keep them moving and to make sure that they're fighting not to win, but fighting to finish.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't judge on a ten-point must system, I would judge on an overall system like they had in Pride FC. I would look at the highest criteria being near submissions, near knockouts, damaged inflicted, all things that accumulate towards finishing a fight, not control or position so much or even a lot of jabs the whole fight. My jabs, I'm never doing anything off with a jab, what was that jab? It was clearly just a scoring opportunity, just to attack, it was more of a defensive move than anything to try and finish a fight. And if you're not trying to finish, then what are you doing there? Lastly, the biggest thing is in fighter's contracts, I wouldn't have where they get cut if they lose, because I think that's a really heavy factor weighing on people going out there fighting they think "If I lose this fight, they're going to cut my contract, I'll make less money if I even get to come back and fight." You want people to fight for motivational, being the man and trying to be the best, not "If I lose, I can't afford this."


    Tell us something more about your team competing in the "Ring of Fire."

    This team it's Team Barnett, but I gave them a name of the "Crimson Marauders." We're going to come in there, we're going to land ashore just like what we did right now, and we're going to rampage, pillage, and destroy, and run all over every other team. Nothing is going to be left in their little villages, their kids are going to be scattered across, the women are going to cry, and all the men are dead. They're going to be annihilated; it's just going to be a wasteland, that's what's going to be left from our guys. We trained really hard, we got the best team bar-none out there and I really have a lot of faith in my fighters. They came in to camp; they've trained very hard, harder than any of these other teams I promise you that.

    Ron has some of the footage of our conditioning workouts, we're sparring full MMA rounds, no gloves, pads, everything going at it full 100%. These guys are ready to go, we didn't even know what the rules were up to a certain point, so we're training soccer kicks, stomps, and headbutts. What it came down to is, we come to win, and we come to fight. These are the examples: They asked us what rules we want to fight at? I asked my guys, I said "Hey guys, would you care if we have headbutts, soccer kicks, stomps, bare-knuckle, or whatever?" And all of them said, "We don't care, we'll fight." Whatever rules you've come up with, they're fine. We'll fight under any rules, we just want to fight, and that just says these people are not here to worry about incidentals, these people are here to fight. Their opponents better be ready, you know what I mean? They better trained very hard, or they're going to get hurt very badly.



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