Time to Change the Baby-Faced Assassin
Josh "The Baby-Faced Assassin" Barnett, a native of Seattle, Washington, is a popular Heavy Weight Mixed-Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and professional Wrestler.
His impressive accumulated MMA fight record of 25-5-0 (Three of his losses were to highly-respected Mirko "Crocop" Filipovic) has garnered him a worldwide legion of admiring fans.
Barnett became the youngest (UFC) Champion in history thus far by defeating Randy "The Natural" Couture early in 2002, but was later stripped of that title after having been tested Positive for three anabolic agents in his system.
His license was then suspended for six months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after a hearing, where Josh vehemently denied ever using steroids.
After losing his UFC Title, Josh Barnett became a professional wrestler overseas in the New Japan Wrestling Organization, while in Japan he competed in MMA for both Pride and Pancrase. He also won the Pancrase Open Weight Grand Prix Title by defeating Yuki Kondo.
Winning this title put him alongside the likes of the great Bas Rutten, brothers Ken and Frank Shamrock as one of only a few fighters to be a titleholder in both Pancrase and the UFC.
In his first fight in Pride against Mirko "Crocop" Filipovic, he suffered a simultaneous fracture and dislocated shoulder injury that required surgery and over six months of rehabilitation therapy.
His first fight back post-injury was a rematch against Filipovic at Pride-30, which he lost by a unanimous decision. He came back with a win against Kazuhiro Nakamura at Pride-31.
Barnett then went on to beat Aleksander Emelianenko by a submission in the second round of the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix. He also submitted big Mark Hunt via Kimura in the second round of the Open Weight Grand Prix at Pride Critical Countdown Absolute.
Barnett defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by split decision in the semi finals of the Open Weight Grand Prix, however he lost the final match of the Pride Final Conflict Absolute 2006, submitting after an accidental poke to the eye, marking his third consecutive loss to Filipovic.
Next, Barnett fought the Polish Judo Gold Medalist at Pride-32, the organization's first show in the USA. To fight again in Nevada, the State Athletic Commission required that Barnett pass a mandatory drug test. In a surprisingly competitive match, Nastula controlled the first round and most of the second. Barnett reversed Nastula from the bottom and was able to secure a Toe-Hold submission, which earned him the victory.
At a post fight press conference, Barnett complimented Nastula on his performance. Nastula, however, subsequently tested positive for steroids. Barnett then lost a rematch by unanimous decision to Nogueira at Pride Shockwave 2006.
Barnett layed fairly low in 2007, after the aquisition of Pride by the UFC organization. In July 2008, he fought in the innagural event for Affliction, knocking out Pedro Rizzo in the 2nd round to avenge a previous loss seven years earlier. In early 2009, Barnett submitted opponent Gilbert Yvel at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.
With his career in high gear, Barnett looked poised to continue expanding his horizons.
However, on July 21, 2009, Barnett tested positive for an illegal anabolic steroid in his system. Following the results, the California State Athletic Commission refused to allow him to compete on a highly anticipated fight card for Affliction against Fedor Emelianenko at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
It's reported that this sudden circumstance, coupled with the simple fact that Affliction was completely unprepared to replace their highly publicized Main Event on such short notice, caused the company to bankrupt its fight promotions. The remaining interest was said to become absorbed by Zuffa, Inc., and the UFC organization.
Because of this, Barnett was immediately blacklisted by much of the MMA community. He is reported as the only person in competitive Mixed-Martial Arts history to have been tested positive on three separate occasions for anabolic steroids.
Currently, after a much needed rest period, Barnett has been refocusing on his career goals.
He is busy training hard with his coach Erik Paulson (Former Light Heavy-Weight Shooto Champion) and changing his entire outlook on his future with fearless optimism.
Exclusive AMAM Interview with Josh Barnett
AMAM: What was your original inspiration that led you into martial arts?
JB: Getting into fighting was just something I always felt compelled to do.
When I saw the UFC, I saw that there was an outlet for this, there was a possibility to really be a full on all-out-everything-goes kind of fighter. It just really struck a chord with me.
AMAM: How did you first get started in competitive sports, what compelled you to become involved in MMA and Wrestling?
JB: I scraped and saved, begged and pleaded, dragged myself around and made no money.
I sacrificed all I had just to make it happen, because when I started you couldn't even buy gear, I mean it just didn't exist. We would makeshift stuff, we even customized our own gloves. Most of the time, fighting people took place in backyards and places like that.
It was just for the love of it.
AMAM: You've experienced so much success, do you have any one career high moment up to now which stands out most in your mind?
JB: I don't know. I don't think I've hit it yet. The thing about success, you really don't know what it is until after you've accomplished it, right?
AMAM: Who has been your toughest overall competitor thus far?
JB: I always have the worst luck with Cro Cop. I've never had a fight with him where something wasn't really detremental, but, you go out there and do it anyways. But, my toughest fight was probably Semmy Schilt, the second time, that guys a monster.
AMAM: Speaking of Cro Cop, many of your fans wish to see another Barnett vs. Filipovic bout, will that likely happen?
JB: No, I think he's gonna retire. I don't know what happened to him. But, at some point he just wasn't there anymore, he just doesn't feel it, you know what I mean? I guess now it's time for him to move on. He's accomplished alot of great things.
AMAM: After your first Loss to Pedro Rizzo in 2001, as a result, did you then change anything specific about your training regimen?
JB: The biggest thing I did was quit my job. I became a full-time fighter and inherited alot of debt. I suppose it was worth it, my credit-rating is not so great, but oh-well.
AMAM: Ok, let's not talk about credit, it's making me sad right now because mine's bad too.
JB: Aw, sorry about that. (Laughs)
AMAM: You've beaten a long list of noteworthy opponents, do you have your sites set on anyone in particular right now?
JB: I gave up on trying to pick people out a long time ago because chances are you'll get all hung up on this idea of fighting one particular person and something will change, you'll end up getting strung along. So, I just concentrate on whomever has the balls to step up and fight me, I'll take that.
I know eventually that whatever it is I'm trying to get to, I'm gonna get there. Either I'll have to go through all of them now or I'll get to them eventually, so I'll just start piling them up! (Laughs)
AMAM: Please tell our readers about what you are currently working on with Erik Paulson / CSW.
JB: Lots of Ninja skills and Chi attacks. (Laughs)
AMAM: Obviously, recently you've found yourself amidst a degree of controversy within the MMA community, has this changed or affected you?
JB: It sure has, it's made me more popular! (Laughs)
AMAM: So, any publicity is good publicity for you?
JB: I guess to a point, you know. If you don't have somebody hating you then I guess you don't really stand for anything, do ya? (Winks)
AMAM: I have haters too, so am I doing something right?
JB: You got haters, what do you tell your haters?
AMAM & JB: Fuck off!
JB: Tell them to shut the fuck up, right. I'm gonna take my bad credit and knock it over your head, is that it? (Laughs)
AMAM: Naw, you know what, I just try to be nice to them regardless of what they say. If I'm ever forced to really give them a piece of my mind, they wind up avoiding me like the plague.
JB: That's because they're afraid of you.
AMAM: Maybe I should get in the cage with them and mess 'em up?
JB: Exactly, wind up putting some hurtin' on 'em...not gonna know what hit them, ain't gonna remember your name! (Laughs)
AMAM: What would you like all your loyal fans to know about what to expect next from Josh Barnett?
JB: Gonna take you for a good ride. We're gonna walk thru hell, we're gonna go heaven, it's all gonna be great!
Everybody that sticks with me is always gonna get the pay off in the end.
I'm gonna stick with it and be in there for the long haul.
AMAM: Josh, AMAM-MAGAZINE.COM admires you for having the courage to speak openly and frankly on sensitive matters. We hope you will overcome any obstacle standing in your way both personally and professionally.
AMAM wishes you the very best with your career.
Thank you for you time, it is nice meeting you.
JB: Thank you very much.