This is the future of Mixed Martial Arts. Get used to it. At the age of 24, Josh Barnett has battled his way to an incredible 27-1-0 record in Mixed Martial Arts and as of March 22, 2002 realized a dream in defeating Randy Couture to become the youngest UFC Heavyweight Champion in the organizations history. Outside of the ring Josh is friendly, articulate, confident but modest. I`ve had several opportunities to meet Josh in the new Zuffa-era of the UFC and as much as he has impressed me outside the ring, he continues to impress and surprise me even more inside of the Octagon. Less than 48 hours after becoming the champion, my friend Scott Bierri presented me with chance to go catch a movie with Josh so I seized upon the chance and true to my reporters instinct brought my video camera along as well.
We met up at the Theater and watched Blade II (excellent movie BTW). Afterwards we came out of the theater and the first thing I noticed (and had pointed out to me) was that for having just participated in one of the more explosive title bouts in UFC history, Josh had barely a scratch on him. Honestly, if I thought he was capable of shaving I would have guessed that is where the one minor nick came about. With his girlfriend Shannon at his side, longtime friend Todd and his significant other, Scott and myself the discussion at first about the merits of destroying vampires and the pros and cons of setting movies in space, but quickly shifted back to mixed martial arts fighting. You could tell that Josh lives and breathes this stuff.
One of the more surreal moments of the night came as we got dinner at the nearby sports bar. Among all the other memorabilia, trophies and old photographs was a UFC Heavyweight title belt. Josh stared at through the glass as if he was looking at it for the very first time. For all of his confidence, I didn`t get the impression that all of this had sunk into Josh`s head yet.
Afterwards Josh was kind enough to grant me an interview, which I must say went very smoothly and had a lot of valuable insight. Unfortunately, in typical Gumby fashion, I forgot to attach the microphone and the first ten minutes of footage is Josh smiling and making faces with no sound at all. Luckily, instead of punching my lights out josh just laughed and agreed to a second interview on the spot, which actually came off even better.
Here is the fruit of that interview, a video over to your right in Quicktime format in two parts. The clip in the beginning is provided by Tapout, and was originally part of a commercial they produced (that can be found on American Penetration). This interview will likely make it to a tape in the future as well. Enjoy.