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Josh Barnett feels pressure to win big in final Strikeforce bout

Heavyweight Josh Barnett is one of the division’s top fighters, owning an overall record of 31-6 with 26 stoppages and a number of notable victories. He’s also extremely good in front of a microphone, selling fights a la Chael Sonnen minus the trash-talk. However, Barnett is coming off his first loss in years and is set to face an opponent few fans have heard of in what will be his last bout under the Strikeforce banner.

Compounding matters, Barnett’s history with the UFC and President Dana White is far from positive, leaving him in a position many would label as “must win”. The situation isn’t lost on the 35-year old, as he recently pointed out how important an impressive showing is though not necessarily because of how it will affect his standing with Zuffa.

“I think the biggest danger is that he’s an unknown quantity, and of all things, (if) I don’t beat him spectacularly, regardless of how good he really is, the perception could be that I’m slipping or I’m not as good as people thought,” explained “The Warmaster” of opponent Nandor Guelmino, an 11-3-1 Austrian finisher Barnett will face on January 12 at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine.

The card is expected to be Strikeforce’s final event before disbanding, a sinking feeling the PRIDE/Sengoku/Affliction veteran is all too familiar with.

“Unfortunately, it’s really terrible, because I’ve now set foot in so many different organizations that all up and folded shop. It stinks. I hate being in that position,” said Barnett before putting a positive spin on things. “But, I’m here to fight and to crush skulls and step over broken bodies. There’s always an opportunity for that, somewhere, someplace.”

And, if that “somewhere” isn’t the UFC, that’s okay by Barnett too. Acknowledging there were “plenty of guys over there that would be happy” if he never fought in the Octagon, Barnett reiterated his options weren’t necessarily limited, saying, “there’s always people itching for a fight.”