Just days after the spectacular performance that earned him 2nd Place in the September 10th PRIDE FINAL CONFLICT ABSOLUTE 2006, Josh Barnett appeared as a guest speaker at a publicity event for toy manufacturer Broccoli, Inc. on September 13th in the famous Tokyo club, Velfarre.
Barnett, a fanatic for animation, games, etc., was excited to be there.
Josh Barnett appeared at a special guest at a Japan tournament for the trading card game, Dimension Zero. As regular PRIDE website readers may remember, Dimension Zero's image character is none other than PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi. Barnett's appearance at the event was accompanied by the theme song from "Fist of the North Star" and he announced that he would give the autographed open-finger gloves he used in the September 10th PRIDE FINAL CONFLICT ABSOLUTE 2006 Championship match to the winner of the Dimension Zero tournament.
"As you all know, these are the gloves that I used in the Grand Prix Final Round," Barnett said. "I think they are an appropriate present for the winner of the Dimension Zero tournament because these gloves are soaked with my blood and sweat."
Barnett also revealed that he had a second reason for attending the event when he announced the sale of the new PRIDE Card Collection trading cards.
The first edition of the PRIDE Card Collection will be the "PRIDE GP Edition." The PRIDE GP Edition will be sold on a limited basis at the PRIDE Shockwave show on December 31st and will be made publicly available on January 11, 2007. Following this, the "PRIDE Bushido + Shockwave 2006 Edition" will be sold on a limited basis at the PRIDE Grand Prix Series Opening Round, planned for late April 2006, and made publicly available in late May 2006. One pack will include eight cards and be sold at a price of 500 yen. There will be 162 different card versions, including nine secret, autographed cards.
"My teammates also looked at the cards. I think the designs are good and these are nice cards, so I hope everyone will by them," Barnett promoted the new cards.
After taking commemorative photos with the other guests, Barnett answered reporters' questions backstage. "My body hurts a little and I'm still tired. I lost the fight but I definitely want to participate in this kind of promotion. I know that all of you stay up all night writing articles, so it was my responsibility to come here no matter what my condition is. I can here today so I could work with everyone," Barnett explained, showing a keen awareness of his professional status. "This event was really interesting. It was much easier than fighting Nogueira and Mirko in the same day. (laughing) Everyone wants to shake hands but no one tries to punch me!"
"I'm going to collected the trading cards, too, of course. (laughing) I want Minowa, THK and Tamura's cards in particular. My girlfriend will let me if I buy her a Louis Vuitton bag."
Barnett was still wearing sunglasses three days after his GP battles but he said that he doesn't have any major damage. "I'm wearing sunglasses because my eyes are still swollen but I don't have any problems with my vision. My shin hurts more than anything because Nogueira block my kick with his knee. Nogueira probably hurts more than me, though."
Asked about how he would use his fight money, Barnett replied, "I wanted to buy a life-size figure of Kenshiro with the prize money but they were sold out and I couldn't buy it this time. Instead, I think I will buy a Chrysler Charger soon. I've also decided to buy a house in Los Angeles."
Barnett also said that he wants to compete in the October 21st Los Vegas event, as he promised after his Grand Prix fight. "I'm going to start training as soon as I go home. I was teaching punches and tackles to Megumi Fujii (female MMA fighter) and others at the AACC gym yesterday."
Of course, what everyone wants to know is who will be Barnett's opponent. Although he had two incredibly hard fights in a single day, Barnett said that he wouldn't mind having another difficult opponent, "I don't know who my opponent will be yet. Any is fine because I don't have the right to choose my opponents. I will just fight as I always do. They say that Nogueira is a Jujitsu master but I went head-to-head with him on the ground. I'll fight with the same intensity in my next fight. There's not much time but I will just train and fight as always. I'm not afraid of anyone and I will fight anyone head-on. It's doesn't have to be in the main event."
There have also been rumors of UFC fighters competing in the October 21st Las Vegas event. Barnett said that he's ready for them but doesn't believe they will be successful at the PRIDE level, "I don't mind fighting a UFC fighter (if he comes to PRIDE) but if a fighter like Alexander (Emelianenko) goes to the UFC, he could easily become the Champion. If Alexander competed in the UFC, he would prove how high PRIDE's level is."
Barnett continued, "I want to bring the excitement from the Japanese venue to the American fans. I think we should just bring it as it is. I don't want them to just watch the event. I want to the people that come there to get hooked on PRIDE. Even the people that watch the event live on TV will soon understand that PRIDE fighters are the best in the world."
Asked about Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic's offer to train together, Barnett explained, "I don't have any plans (to do so) at the current stage but it might be possible in the future. I have to train with my training partners in Los Angeles though, so I don't have any extra time right now."
"Nobody is a perfect fighter, so I want to become stronger in all areas. I've also never submitted my opponent with a leg-lock. I almost submitted Nogueira in our fight but next time, I would like to win with a leg-lock," Barnett added.
"I don't know how much I've grown because of the Grand Prix but I think the experience of making it through those kind of difficult fights will show in my training and my fights. It's an honor for people to say that I was the MVP. I still haven't taken a pro-wrestling award, though, so I will keep working until I get a new MVP award."
Barnett isn't worrying about the past. He's already got his eyes on the future. Will he make his return in Las Vegas or Japan? Either way, he will surely be stronger the next time he appears in front of the fans.