Josh Barnett will fight his final bout for Strikeforce on Saturday, and beyond that, his future remains uncertain. Much has been made of his checkered past with UFC President Dana White, leaving potential bouts in the Octagon an unpredictable venture.
Barnett is quite accomplished as a Heavyweight, with the main knock on him being his numerous and very ill-timed drug test failures for PEDS. He lost his UFC Heavyweight title belt for this reason, and also caused a huge bout versus Fedor Emelianenko to be canceled, thus signaling the end of the short-lived Affliction promotion.
Now, he is not worrying about his future, as he knows all he can see ahead is opponent Nandor Guelmino. Barnett, always a confident and outspoken fighter, does not seem too fazed in any way heading into the final Strikeforce crowd. He recently spoke to Sherdog Radio and described his mindset on Guelmino heading into the fight:
“I know that he’s got the perfect look for a Hollywood bad guy. I don’t know why he’s bothering with this fighting crap. It seems like a total waste of time. He should be doing auditions and getting all his looks down and practicing his stunt fighting because it’s probably going to be more effective for him."
While it may seem like Barnett is completely trashing his opponent, no one has given the Austrian Guelmino much of a chance whatsoever. Barnett knows that Guelmino has a serviceable record and is a massive competitor with six submission victories to his name, but that’s really nothing he hasn’t seen before:
"He’s not like a total idiot when it comes to fighting. He’s got some skill. He seems like he’s got athleticism. I do imagine he’s probably fairly strong … but I just know with everything I’ve done in this world, all the fights I’ve had, all the training I’ve had, all the people I’ve come across in my adventures, that this is just another one that isn’t necessarily going to stand out from the rest.
You treat him like he’s a world champ, train hard and come after him 100 percent, and he goes down like the rest.”
So Barnett expects another devastating victory, much like most of the rest of the world does. His last outing saw him lose a five round destruction at the hands of surging Heavyweight Grand Prix winner Daniel Cormier. The bout could have been a career-defining win. When asked if he has any regrets, Barnett responded candidly:
“Mainly the Affliction one, that last fight with Fedor. That’s the one. That’s about it other than I think about what I could have done to try and be better prepared for the Strikeforce Grand Prix finals. That’s a pretty big one right there.”
Barnett seems honest and open about his failures, but he is not letting them define him, which is tough. Barnett was questioned if his career accomplishments were enough, and continued:
“No. No, not enough. And even at the end of the day, I’m sure all that I can do from here on out, it will never be enough. That’s the only way that I can imagine that you can possibly strive to the top of the mountain.”
So Josh Barnett is not satisfied with where his career has ended up. He may never find himself back in the good graces of the UFC, but he will have to in order to end his career at the highest level. Like he acknowledged, he can only focus on the opponent currently in his sights. Will Josh Barnett end up as the extremely talented catch wrestler who stood in his own way, or will he have one more chance to redeem himself?