Luke Barnatt is a former competitor on “The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) ” season 17 and a friend of his TUF coach, Chael Sonnen.
In the UFC since April of last year (2013), the 6’6” British fighter has amassed a record of 3 – 1, with two of his wins coming by way of stoppage; 1 TKO, 1 submission.
With his last fight being a split decision loss to Sean Strickland at last May’s UFC Fight Night: Munoz vs. Mousasi, “Bigslow” is now looking to get back into the ring and his opponent of choice is middlweight Wanderlei Silva.
As to why Barnatt wants to fight “The Axe Murder,” apparently it has everything to do with seeking retribution for Chael Sonnen against Silva for Silva’s role in derailing the UFC 175 Sonnen vs. Silva fight, and the fact that “Bigslow” sees Wanderlei Silva as an older fighter whose only purpose in the UFC is to “lose (to) younger men.”
Barnatt in comment to The Daily Telegraph:
“The name that I’m looking at is from mister Wanderlei Silva. He is about 40 years old and I’m a young man, so it’s a good fight for me. He’s a legend of the sport, but I can knock him out in the first round. I think that would be devastating for him. A redemption for bad guys. Chael Sonnen was my coach, we are very close to each other. He’s passing by difficult times now and fighting Wanderlei was his main goal. I can beat Wandy for Sonnen, it would be great for me and I want it. Wanderlei is dead, people want to see new fighters like me. I’m the new. That is why guys like Wanderlei still fight. He’s there to lose for younger men.”
In response, Silva fired back at the “skinny” fighter via Combate.com. Stating that he didn’t know who “Bigslow” was, Silva quickly accepted the fight on the premise that a match with Barnatt “smells like easy money.”
“Sonnen and Belfort are the opponents that I want to face and these fights have to happen. When Sonnen is good to fight, it can happen. There are other guys, like that one who lost to Belfort, Luke Rockhold. I wasn’t even thinking about him, but I was asked if I could face him and I said it could be. I just know who he is because he lost to Belfort. This other skinny one (Barnatt) smells like easy money. I don’t know who he is. I looked (at) his picture and said: ‘I can’t believe it, this skinny guy?’. To beat fools like him is easy money. I would accept giving him a beating, for sure.”
In considering his call out of Silva, Barnatt should be applauded. He’s stepping up to the plate and seeking a fight with an MMA legend. A win over “The Axe Murderer” could put Barnatt on the map, as far as name recognition goes. In short, calling out Silva is a a smart career move.
However, in requesting a match with Silva, “Bigslow” could easily be biting off more than he can chew. Yes, Silva is an older fighter (38), but he’s also a highly experienced one and one that has fought a considerably tougher crew than has Barnatt. The large middleweight would have a significant height and reach advantage to be sure, and would have youth on his side as well, but “The Axe Murderer” would have it all over Banratt in terms of Octagon maturity and ring know-how.
If the UFC agrees to the match, it could be an interesting clash between the sport’s possible future and its definite past.
Photo Courtesy of Wanderlei Silva