Josh Barnett (right) had much to say on the “Savage Dog Show.” | Photo: Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog.com
The Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix is filled with talent, but Josh Barnett believes he has the experience, mindset and skills to prevail.
He’ll test those assets against Brett Rogers on Saturday at Strikeforce “Overeem vs. Werdum.” Ahead of that bout, Barnett spoke to the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” on how he’ll approach Rogers, how the Alistair Overeem-Fabricio Werdum fight could go and more.
On his strategy against Rogers: “One, don’t let him hit me. And two, just put hands on him. Hit him first, hit him last and wherever he wants to be, take him out of that. Take his skill sets away and put him under my control. Even if we’re on the feet, if I’m tearing him up with techniques that he can’t really defend … if I’m taking advantage of all his mistakes and any openings that he’s giving me, then that’s where I’ll keep the fight. I’m going to put him somewhere that he doesn’t want to be no matter what.”
On whether Rogers has anything to lose: “I’m sure he’s thinking if he does lose, this is going to be really detrimental to his MMA career but especially his Strikeforce contract. I think he thinks he can kick my ass. I’ve always had that thought ever since the first day I met him. I’ve always had the notion in the back of my head that this guy really thinks that he can beat me up. So I want to see how that comes off when he gets in the cage and looks at me across from him.”
On where he stands in the field: “Plain and simple, I’m the best fighter in this tournament. I’ve got the most experience. … I’ve been fighting longer. I’ve been in the sport longer. I’ve fought all the top guys, and the fact that some of these guys in the tournament are the top guys now, well, they weren’t the top guys when I was fighting. A lot of the top guys I fought were the top guys for years, some near a decade. Just because you got into the upper echelon just now -- we’ll see how it turns out later on in life. I’ve got the biggest skill set and I think I’ve got the best overall, all-around ability and I’m just the meanest, angriest, most bloodthirsty bastard out of them all.”
On Overeem-Werdum: “I think it’s Overeem’s fight to lose. … But one of the things about this tournament is how will he handle having to fight some guys that can take him further into the rounds? I want to see that myself because he really hasn’t had anybody push him for a while here. With Werdum, it’s a matter of control. He needs to control the fight and keep it standing. It’s not that I don’t think he has the ability to grapple with him on the ground. I think he does, at least to be defensive, but that’s where Werdum wants it to be. That’s where his best odds are, so best to not give him any of that opportunity whatsoever. He was actually doing really well the first time they fought, and just by sitting in his guard, got submitted with a very simple hold. I don’t think it would go that way this time, but it’s just best not to even give that kind of opportunity to a jiu-jitsu guy like Werdum.”
On whom he’d like to fight in the finals: “I’d like to see Alistair at the end of all of this just because he has done such a great job in the recent years and winning the K-1 is a great accomplishment, really commendable. He’s at the top of his game. People see him as this unstoppable juggernaut right now, and that’s what I want to jump in there with. That’s what I want to fight, a guy that people think is unbeatable.”
On Zuffa buying Strikeforce: “It just was such a surprise, but now’s the time to take advantage of opportunity and not to grieve over anything or anything that hasn’t even come about yet. Zuffa has the biggest infrastructure of MMA right now globally. They can hit all the markets. They can hit all the faces and all the eyeballs, so I’m going to take advantage of that. I’m going to use that to the best of my ability. I’m going to make them a s--t ton of money. Everybody’s going to win.”
On facing UFC fighters: “There’s no way for me to make those fights happen. If there are those opportunities out there, just line the son of a b--ches up and I’ll just put all their heads on a pike and use them to decorate my fortress.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:27:14).