Undeniably one of the top fighters in the World right now, but the question is where will Josh fight next?OTM: Josh what’s new with you? How’s training? Any fights coming up?
Josh: No fights quite yet, but I’m working on something. I’m a free agent right now. I don’t have a contract with anybody, but I’m feeling some offers and doing some negotiating. Hopefully I’ll be fighting by the beginning of fall.
OTM: Looking back on your career, I’ve seen you go into war with quite a few guys, watching you fight Pedro Rizzo and take the Championship from Randy Couture, what fight would you say is the most memorable fight you’ve had.
Josh: The Semmy Schilt in Japan was a pretty cool fight, but I guess the Yuki Kondo fight the #1 for me!
OTM: Looking back, I believe it was the absolute tournament where you had to fight Nogueira who’s known as submission specialist, but I believe if there were a couple more seconds you would’ve had that knee bar, tell me about that.
Josh: Well he was screaming so…most of the organizations in the world if you scream it’s a verbal submission and they would call it a match. When I heard him screaming like that and his knee popping and when the ref came and put his hands on me I though, that’s it, it’s a tap out, he’s done. But no they let him scream and until the end of the round and watched him limp out of the ring afterwards. He’s certainly a tough character but I know I can submit him.
OTM: We see that in a lot of the up and coming fighters, they love that jiu jitsu and I believe your submission skills in the heavy weight division along with your wrestling and your strikes, it seems like you move like a middle weight for your size, what do you attribute to that? I know you started training with Matt Hume and have been there for quite some time.
Josh: The type of training that I received from Matt from the beginning was taken from a lot of his and my own amateur wrestling training and also training from pancrase when he went and trained over which was a catch wrestling style and basically it’s not waiting for people to make mistakes we make them make mistakes. So we’re aggressive and like to push the pace and we are explosive in grappling. The quicker I can lock it up on you the less time you have to escape it. A lot of heavy weights stress using their weight and using a lot of power, and it’s not that I don’t know how to use my weight or my power, I just believe that when it comes between strength and technique, if technique is equal and strength is not, strength is gonna win; technique within strength. You have to be fluid and you gotta be smooth and you gotta be fast and you gotta be quick, so (I do) lots of drilling and lot of stuff that I’ve done through the years have been to promote quickness and agility and explosiveness and to carry that into the ground game instead holding. Holding a position is nice but if I finish that guy with a submission the fight’s over, I don’t have to hold him anymore.
OTM: Looking back you’ve definitely had great game plans, including the ones in the Mark Hunt fight. You came into that fight and you had the grappling background you had the submission background and the wrestling background and Hunt came into that fight primarily as a striker. Did you plan to take him straight to the floor or did you just wanna bang with him?
Josh: Well I was prepared to stand up with him, I’ve had K-1 level sparring partners for a long time, Maurice Smith, Curtis Schuster, Michael McDonald; I’ve been in the K-1 gym in Japan training, and fighting anybody on the feet in world doesn’t bother me but at the same time lets say I do beat him on the feet but that’s his strength as well, I wanna take him out of his strength. I know if I put him on the ground I’d have a much easier chance of beating him and everything just really fell into place and I got a nice win out of that. I’ll probably never get another fight that goes that smoothly for me, but when it does happen it’s nice.
OTM: Ever since you went to Pride FC, I was really excited about you fighting Fedor, because given your style and everybody else he’s matched up against he’s able to adapt to his opponents and come out on top. I heard something about you guys being friends and you guys maybe training together, but is that still something you would like to pursue knowing that he is sitting at the top of the heavyweight division.
Josh: Well that’s what you do as a fighter. If you’re not trying to be the best than why are you there? So by that nature, I’d like to fight Fedor. He is a good friend of mine and we haven’t trained together, he’s invited me out to Russia and at some point I think I would really like to take him up on that to see the country and to just spend some time living in Russia. Basically Fedor is a free agent and I’m a free agent. The company that puts us together is going to make the year. There is no fight bigger than that. Someone, if there gonna wise up, I’m telling you I’m giving you free information here that they’re gonna make a crap-load of money if there smart enough to put that together.
OTM: Josh I notice you have great of marketing yourself around the world. The Japanese love you but I would love to see you fight on American soil is that something you’re looking forward to?
Josh: It’s not about where I fight. A ring is a ring. A ring doesn’t have a nation. A ring is simply just a ring and it can be anywhere in the world but when you walk in there that’s your nation. There are advantages and disadvantages to fighting in the states but I just want to make the fight happen in a primo organization that will give enough exposure to the fans so they can all see it and enjoy the fight and we can put together a legendary type event.
OTM: I see you have one of your girls fighting in the FFF, Ginelle Marquez. Do we see you coming up as a trainer?
Josh: I have a few people that I work with, and I don’t consider myself a full time trainer. Our head trainer is Erik Paulson for Ginelle and myself. We train at CSW Headquarters in Fullerton California. It just opened up actually, its seven thousand square feet and it’s an incredible new gym. Renato “Babalu” Sobral is training there as well as Justin Levens, myself and Ginelle Marquez now. WWW.erikpaulson.COM
OTM: Anything else you’de like to add for OnTheMat.com?
Josh: All the up to date information about me is always gonna be found at www.Joshbarnett.tv. And you can see all my sponsors like Affliction and Lethal Performance and some of the other great sponsors that are supporting me and there’s also a dojo directory to all the different gyms that I have affiliation with.