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UFC 164’s Barnett: State of Japanese MMA “Makes me Really Sad”

Kelsey Mowatt

Josh Barnett

Although Josh Barnett hasn’t fought in the Octagon since 2002, old school and hardcore fans are well aware of what ‘The Baby Faced Assassin” (it was his nickname after all) accomplished over the years while competing in Japan. Of course, throughout much of that period, MMA was a much bigger sport there than it was here in North America, thanks in large part to the ridiculous popularity of PRIDE.

That was then, however, and this is now, and as Barnett prepares to make his Octagon return this Saturday at UFC 164, MMA continues to struggle in Japan. While appearing on this week’s edition of “The MMA Hour”, Barnett had this to say about the state of MMA in Japan.

“It makes me really sad,” Barnett said. “The more MMA there is globally, the better off all of us are, in terms of increasing our fanbase and increasing our revenue opportunities. But it’s also said as someone who lived over there and was part of that to see the ancient Atlantis of MMA crumble under the sea.”

What an interesting way of putting it. Barnett also offered this take on what’s riding on his bout Saturday with Frank Mir, and how important the fight is for his career.

“I understand this is a big moment for me,” Barnett said. “But in the forefront of my mind is simply Frank Mir. Simply beating and punching and grabbing and choking and spitting and biting until a ref makes me quit. That’s all I care about. … I can think about the importance of all the external factors after. It’s like going into a title fight, and they ask about the belt. Yeah yeah, the belt, the belt. Trust me, I’m aware of it. I like gold shiny things. the fight is what gets me those gold shiny things. To the winner goes the spoils.”

UFC 164 will be hosted by Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center and will feature lightweight champ Benson Henderson taking on Anthony Pettis in the main event. It should be a great night of fights.

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