UFC 164 will feature the highly anticipated rematch between lightweight champ Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis, but it will also include the long awaited, Octagon return of Josh Barnett. The 35 year-old heavyweight will take on Frank Mir at the August 31st card, which will mark the first time he has fought for the UFC since 2002, when he defeated Randy Couture.
Due to Barnett’s extensive experience–we are talking about a guy who made his pro debut in 1997–“The Warmaster” was asked to comment on the growth of the sport during a recent media call. Here is some of what the outspoken vet had to say (transcription via MMA Fighting.com ).
“I fought when there was no money from fighting really,” Barnett said. “I fought when you couldn’t even buy MMA gear at your local sports store or whatever. We had to make it ourselves. I fought when most of the time we didn’t even wear gloves. We were under attack from all angles. There wasn’t really an audience hardly. There wasn’t much fame. The only real reason to do it was because you just had a never-ending desire to get in there and bathe in blood.
“Today there is the opportunity to branch out and to be a part of things that are outside of fighting. It has a broader acceptance from mainstream public. There’s a lot more notoriety with this and a much bigger public spotlight that comes with it. As far as making a living, it’s a far better opportunity now than it was when I started.”
“I think that a lot of guys fight not for the reasons that we used to fight for,” Barnett said. “There’s a lot of guys that get in here and they just want to get in, make a run, think that they’re going to be famous, make a lot of money, what have you. They fight for glory, where we fought for blood and for honor.”
It definitely was a different era, and Barnett is one of the few fighters remaining, who has continued to fight at an elite level throughout MMA’s evolution.
UFC 164 will be hosted by Milwaukee’s Bradley Center and the main card will be broadcast via pay-per-view.