Q & A: JOSH BARNETT
09/07/2006

Josh Barnett answered reporters' questions in a Tokyo hotel on September 7th. Barnett is burning with desire to face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a bout he has wanted for years, in the Semi-Final Round of the PRIDE FINAL CONFLICT ABSOLUTE 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix on September 10th at Saitama Super Arena.

Josh Barnett answered reporters' questions in a Tokyo hotel on September 7th. Barnett is burning with desire to face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a bout he has wanted for years, in the Semi-Final Round of the PRIDE FINAL CONFLICT ABSOLUTE 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix on September 10th at Saitama Super Arena.

"I'm in really good condition. I don't have a six-pack yet but that's because I've gained weight for this fight. I weight 114kg right now, just as I planned. I've been able to spar well and there's no mistake that I have trained harder than anybody else fighting in this tournament," Barnett explained.

Barnett may not have a six-pack but he said that he has been working hard to improve his conditioning and the reason for his weight gain was a gain in muscle, particularly in his chest, not in fat.

"I'm stronger this time. I never really wanted to drop below 240 pounds. I've gained muscles and tightened up all around, and this is my best weight now. This is still just one step to creating the perfect body."

According to Barnett, he plans to create the perfect body by next year. Most likely Barnett has a future fight with Fedor in mind.

Barnett chose Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Vladimir Matyushenko and James Thompson as sparring partners and sparred with them three times per week. "I also worked on my physical strength and stamina for this fight, not just sparring. None of the other three fighters will be able to match my physical abilities," Barnett said with confidence.

Barnett also said that his strategy and fighting style would be the same as always. "I will be trying to finish the fight, not go to a decision. I want to finish the fight as quickly as possible. I have to consider my stamina too because it's a tournament," Barnett said, apparently aiming for a short fight with Nogueira. "Nogueira has a slow rhythm so I will probably control the fight. If Nogueira matches my rhythm, he has no chance of winning."

Barnett had already heard what Nogueira said at his open training session just two days earlier. "Nogueira apparently said that my ground techniques come from jujitsu. That's just stupid. I've never done jujitsu and I've developed my own, original skills."

"We're both fighters with high-level ground abilities, so the fight will probably go to the ground eventually," Barnett said. "If I'm on the bottom, though, I will use my best techniques. If he doesn't like that and he wants to stand, I will stand and fight with him, of course."

As always, Barnett is looking to live up to his image and use pro-wrestling techniques in his fight. "I'm always trying for German Suplexes in all of my fights. I want to show off some beautiful pro-wrestling moves. My sparring partners were surprised when I got a German (Suplex) because they didn't know any pro-wrestling techniques. (laughing) I think there's a higher chance of getting a Northern Lights Bomb than a German (Suplex) this time, though."

Although Barnett said that Mirko has a 60% chance of beating Mirko and advancing to the Final Round, he wants to fight both fighters. "If I fight Mirko, it will be different than the last time. I'm in top condition, so I will be able to show him my true fighting style. If I fight Silva, I will get revenge for my friend Rampage. Either fighter will be fine." Barnett also sent a message to Nogueira, Mirko and Silva. "Those three are probably completely focused on themselves. They will believe they are the best when they get in the ring but they'll realize that I am beating their faces in."

In just a few days, Josh Barnett, with his new found physical conditioning and confidence, will set off on adventure to prove that he is the best fighter in the world!