Josh Barnett: Secretly the Best MMA Heavyweight in the World?
Since 1997, "The War Master" Josh Barnett has been one of the most dominant fighters in all of MMA. He has posted a record of 31-5, with 19 of his victories coming by way of submission. He has a who's who list of victories, but once Pride FC folded, it almost appears that a large part of the MMA world forgot about "The War Master."
"Catch as catch can." That phrase is the motto of the style Barnett uses inside the cage, which is "catch" wrestling.
Catch wrestling, which is similar to jiu-jitsu, is a much more brutal art. In catch wrestling, when you see a submission opportunity, you go for it. Not only does Barnett show off his catch wrestling skills in mixed martial arts, but he also enters grappling tournaments. He has won multiple grappling tournaments, and for that, along with his knowledge, he was awarded a BJJ black belt in December of 2009.
Josh also uses his catch wrestling in Japan, where he is a professional wrestler and has competed for organizations like New Japan Pro Wrestling, as well as Antonio Inoki's Inoki Genome Federation wrestling promotion. He is a very dominant pro wrestler and is very well liked and accepted in Japan.
Josh has zero "bad losses" on his record in MMA and has only been defeated by three different men, and two of those he holds a victory over. Since his final fight in Pride against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he has posted an 8-0 record and has now set himself up to become the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix champion—that is, if he defeats two-time Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier.
If he defeats Cormier, then he will be able to add the Grand Prix championship to his collection, which includes the UFC heavyweight championship and the King of Pancrase openweight championship. He is only one of four men to have held a UFC championship and a Pancrase championship (Bas Rutten, Ken Shamrock and Frank Shamrock).
The problem that Barnett presents to every heavyweight is his size and strength. Add excellent catch wrestling and improved boxing, and, well, those are the makings of a force to be reckoned with.
Josh has all the potential to be No. 1. He has the résumé and has now aligned himself with an opportunity to show the world what he is truly made of. At this point in his career, he is at the age in which many fighters come into their primes, which realistically is a scary thing. The only person that is going to stop Josh Barnett right now is Josh Barnett himself.
As Barnett said as he pointed to the crowd after submitting Sergei Kharitonov, "You will all die by my hand!" Heavyweight division watch out—"The War Master" is coming for you!
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