Josh Barnett may have hoped to score a win without any controversy in his Octagon return, but at the end of the day, the former heavyweight champ did emerge with a victory at UFC 164. In addition, since Barnett came out aggressively and floored Mir with a hard knee not long into the bout, it was a solid performance for “The Warmaster” (premature stoppage or not).
When asked to evaluate Barnett’s outing after the card, UFC President Dana White offered this analysis (comments via MMA Junkie.com):
“I think that Josh Barnett has more tools than Frank does,” White said. “Josh’s standup is better. Submissions would have been fun to see. Frank Mir is a beast on the ground. But you know, Josh fought the fight that Josh needed to fight. He went in and did exactly what you need to do to beat Frank Mir. You get in there, you start hitting him. You close that distance, push him against the fence, hit him with elbows, rough him up. Frank Mir does not like that.
” … (But) if you had to pick one thing about that night that was disappointing, it was, could Frank Mir have taken a couple more shots? And that’s it. It was a good night.”
Not surprisingly, Barnett believes the fight was likely a done deal, even if the ref may have jumped in a bit too early.
“I understand Frank’s frustration. But I feel like there was no getting out of that, personally. I feel it was the beginning of the end, but that’s what I’m supposed to feel.”
With the win, Barnett improved his record to 33-6 and the 35 year-old fighter is 9-1 now in his last 10. The only man to defeat him during that stretch is fellow contender, Daniel Cormier.
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