While interviewing Josh Barnett to promote his role as commentator alongside Mauro Ranallo on the “New Japan Pro Wrestling” show for AXS TV (that premieres on January 16), the topic of MMA was bound to come up eventually.
Barnett did not have much to say in terms of news when it came to what is next for his fighting career, but we did discuss whether or not Bellator MMA under Scott Coker could be seen as an equal in the industry, or even surpass the UFC, as well as some awesome fight analysis of the potential Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum heavyweight title fight that is bound to happen soon.
While Barnett was not ready to necessarily predict a winner of the fight, he did offer some big insight on the key points to what could affect the outcome of the bout. “Werdum is known to be quite good on the ground and I don’t know, I actually don’t believe he would have any hesitation in throwing big knees and kicks,” Barnett stated. “It’s the usual sort of thing where he might say, well, you know, ‘I don’t want that guy to have the opportunity to punch me so I will let him take me down,’ don’t think he would even be concerned in the least by being taken down by Cain. And that, potentially, could be his downfall.”
“You don’t let a wrestler like that control you, hit you, stifle you. I mean, as good as Werdum is, Cain is just as strong, a bit faster, and if all he is doing is shutting down any hand control, just keeping hand control… and just establishing good posture and stays in his face, just keeps chipping away on him, back up on the feet, hits him on top, puts him on the cage, hangs on him, punches on him a bit, they break, gets back in again and just keeps controlling, controlling, controlling… eventually, Werdum is going to get a bit too tired to get any offense on. So if I am Werdum… do throw knees, do try to lure him into that shot on purpose so you can fire something off up the middle… if you can’t find what you want, don’t hang out, get moving. But we got to get those guys in the ring and see what happens.”
Barnett also had some thoughts in regards to the big story of Jon Jones testing positive for cocaine use before his fight at UFC 182 against Daniel Cormier, and gave us one of the best versions of a “no comment” answer that MMA has ever had. “I am neither the disciplinarian for the UFC or the NSAC so I will let them do what they see best. Even so, my opinion wont really make any difference. As far as Jones doing coke, i heard once from a very wise man that is was a hell of a drug. So, I am likely to believe him, especially since he wrote some really classic songs like “Super Freak” and he also created the Mary Jane girls, and anybody that has that kind of talent is well worth listening to. I hope it was off of a very righteous rack of tits. I suppose what’s done is done and there is no going back on it now, and the firestorm that will come from it still perhaps has not even reached its peak.”