Josh Barnett overcame and dominated in a tough fight where he showed his true strength against Alexander Emelianenko in the PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Opening Round, held on May 5th at the Osaka Dome. The source of Barnett's power was his "guts."




Pride Fighting Championships: Your fight against Alexander Emelianenko in the Grand Prix Opening Round was truly a tough battle. Why do you think you were able to dominate that fight?
Josh Barnett: One thing is experience. Another is the training I did my with my training partner, Erik Paulson. Also, I think the most important factor was my guts.
Pride: Guts?
Barnett: If you've got guts, for example, even if you feel like you're going to run out of energy, guts can fill you with energy. Or, when you're put into a dangerous position, if you've got guts, you can stay calm.
Pride: So, "guts" is something where you'd rather die than give up the fight, right?
Barnett: Exactly.
Pride: Have you ever felt like giving up in any of your fights?
Barnett: No. To me, it's impossible.
Pride: Where did you learn that "guts"?
Barnett: Guts is something you can gain through training but in my case, I think I was born with guts.
Pride: Was there anytime in your youth when you proved your guts?
Barnett: One thing is that even when I was a kid, I believed that I should never let anyone steal my dignity, whether they were a kid or an adult. For example, even if I didn't mean anything bad by it, at school, I would think I was right and my teachers were wrong, and even though I thought I was this type of person, they would try to push me into a certain mold and my pride was hurt. As far as specifics go, Alexander hit me in the head a lot, so I don't remember. (laughing)
No matter who you are, though, there will be a time when you have to follow your own beliefs. When you are doing what you believe in and truly want to do, you don't care about the results, right? I think that if you get caught up with the opinions around you at that time and just put up with it, special parts of you inside will die, one-by-one. If a lot of important things inside of your die, you won't be able to be happy anymore. I want to avoid that.
Pride: That's philosophical. There is an expression in Japan that the spirit exceeds the body. Do you feel the same way, that having guts is a weapon that exceeds physical training and technique?
Barnett: I won't say that guts are more important that physical training and techniques but no matter how great your physical condition, techniques and skill are, if you don't have guts, you can't make them work for you. Guts are the driving force behind everything. Ferraris and Mustangs may be wonderful cars but they won't move if there's no driver, right? It's the same thing.
Pride: In the Opening Round, you, Fujita and Kosaka showed guts. By coincidence, you've all done pro-wrestling, too.
Barnett: Yes, that's right! I didn't realize it but that's definitely true. That's exactly right. I think it's unfortunate that there aren't more pro-wrestlers showing guts, though.
Pride: Well, please give us your thoughts on the Second Round.
Barnett: I will fight anyone in the Second Round, because all of the fighters are fitting to be the Champion and no matter who I beat, it will mean about the same to me as if I had beaten the World Champion. My goal is to beat Fedor, just like everyone else. I want to run at full-speed toward that goal.