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Josh Barnett wants to “cement his legacy” in the UFC before retiring

Josh Barnett wants to “cement his legacy” in the UFC before retiring

Heavyweight Josh Barnett is easily the best fighter in the division who doesn’t currently call the UFC home. Though Barnett came close to signing a deal shortly after Strikeforce folded, he ultimately turned the offer down in hopes of receiving one he felt was more reasonable. However, that’s not to say “The Warmaster” isn’t still hoping to ultimately return to the organization he held gold in a decade ago.

Barnett spoke to The MMA Hour about the matter, admitting his career would likely end with an asterisk unless taking his talents to the Octagon for a final run.

“I would love to fight in the UFC next,” said Barnett. “I’ve been a Top 10 fighter longer than anybody active in mixed martial arts at this time, and there’s a real good reason for that. To be in the UFC would mean to go back to where I already won the belt, to go back to where I was a champion at 24 years old, and try to cement my legacy as an MMA fighter. I don’t really feel I can create that legacy and finish on a high point unless I’m there.”

The 32-6 Barnett has finished 27 of the opponents he’s beaten and scored wins in nine of his last ten fights. Among his most notable victims are the likes of Sergei Kharitonov, Pedro Rizzo, Jeff Monson, Mark Hunt, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

8 COMMENTS
  • AlphaOmega says:

    Wonder what part of the contract it was that he didn’t like, I know the rumor was he wanted something that Alvarez was offered.

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  • hindsightufuk says:

    i’d love to see him there, been a favorite fighter of mine for years, just not sure the UFC will ever risk it.
    also i dont really like him talking about being a UFC champion, he wasnt, he pissed hot, at 24, thats ridiculous.

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    “I’ve been a Top 10 fighter longer than anybody active in mixed martial arts at this time, and there’s a real good reason for that.”

    Yeah, there is… fighting in the paper-thin HW division and spending the last several years outside the UFC fighting mostly scrubs.

    Josh made $250K for his last SF fight… the UFC probably wasn’t going to offer him even half that. Probably told him the huge paycut could be offset by the big boost in sponsorship money he’d command fighting under the UFC banner compared to elsewhere, along with the opportunity to boost his salary via performance (OTN bonuses, etc.). But Josh’s ego is up in the clouds, so who knows if he’s going to be willing to bend. As usual the UFC has more leverage, and while I’m sure they’d like to add Josh as HW depth, if they miss out on bringing back a 35+ year old grappler nobody is going to lose any sleep over it.

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  • MCM says:

    I ran into Josh this weekend at the Renaissance fair and told him I think it was stupid of Dana to have not signed him right off the bat. He said, “I agree. But you never know.” Then he walked away munching on a giant turkey leg.

    true story.

    And 250k really isn’t all that much especially if the UFC doesn’t pay a win bonus. Didn’t Cung Le get somewhere in the 300k range his first fight?

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    Did he at least over you a bite?

    Regarding pay, to provide somewhat of a similar comparison, Eddie Alvarez’s offer from the UFC was reported as follows:

    An eight-fight deal would start Alvarez at $70,000 to show and $70,000 to win and raises in $5,000 increments with each win until it tops out at a guaranteed $210,000 for a win.

    There was a signing bonus and potential PPV money involved as well, but as far as fight salary Eddie would be guaranteed less than $100k per fight, and with win bonuses could push it in the $150-200k range…but still well below the $250k Josh made in his last SF bout. Not that he’s dead set on that figure, but I doubt he wants to go from a guaranteed quarter mill to being guaranteed <$100k which is more in line with UFC salaries.

    But you're right – the UFC has made exceptions at times, deciding to pony up the cash in certain instances. Guys like Cung Le and Hector Lombard received huge offers (not compared to other pro sports, but relative to other fighters) to sign on with the UFC. And maybe I'm not giving enough consideration to Barnett's name recognition/value, and the UFC might be willing to up their offer and meet in the middle somewhere. But with his PED history, his age, and his less than thrilling style of fighting, I don't see him as a guy the UFC is gonna put a lot of effort into signing…. put an offer out there, and he can take it or leave it. And based on Josh's latest comments, sounds like he's already starting to get a bit antsy.

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  • AlphaOmega says:

    Do we no for sure it was the money part though? I know the article I read said that he wanted something Eddie was offered and the UFC wouldn’t give it, Eddie was guaranteed a fast track to a title shot in his contract, could that of been what Barnett wanted?

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  • Richard Stabone says:

    Sure, there were probably multiple factors involved. I just know that in the end it’s always money that talks the loudest.

    And if Barnett is worried about a title shot, he’s gotta realize that in the HW division it’s only a couple wins away if he comes in & takes care of bidness.

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  • MCM says:

    Barnett said it was only 1 thing he wanted to change, and that it his eyes it was a “little thing”. I’m thinking it has less to do with money or title shots and more to do with image rights “in perpetuity”.

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