Opinion: Josh Barnett Dominates in Return to UFC
Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett made a successful return to the octagon at UFC 164, stopping fellow former heavyweight champion Frank Mir by TKO just 1:56 in the first round.
The fight started with both heavyweights slugging it out at a frantic pace, though it was Barnett able to unleash punches, elbows and knees on Mir against the cage. Mir was able to land a few clean punches over the top, but was unable to prevent Barnett from using knees from the clinch.
To finish the fight, Barnett landed a brutal knee against Mir’s face, which dropped him, and the fight was called.
I know Mir was able to spring off his back to protest the fight stoppage, and believe it would have been the beginning of the end, anyway. UFC President Dana White, Frank Mir, and Barnett all said post-fight that it was an early stoppage and Mir deserved the right to compete to stay in the fight.
Early stoppage or not, it’s still a win for Barnett in his UFC return.
Here is what Barnett said during the post-fight press conference:
“My strategy was just to bring it from start to finish – be aggressive, put the pressure on him and take the fight where it ends. If I’m the one who’s dictating, no matter where the position is, I feel it’s going to be in my favor.”
After an 11-year hiatus from the UFC, where Barnett fought in Pride, Sengoku, Affliction, Strikeforce, and a handful of other promotions, no one knew what to expect from the 35-year-old veteran. I thought he would be able to win the fight by decision, but didn’t expect a rather vicious TKO victory so early in the fight.
I am extremely interested to see what the UFC does with Barnett next, as he’s proving he could make things even more fun in the heavyweight division.