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Josh Barnett: Words of a Warmaster



Mixed Martial Arts is a sport unlike any other. There are certainly obvious similarities to the other professional sports, namely, the most well-conditioned athletes in the world competing against one another on the biggest stage for the hope that one day, all of the elite training camps and rigorous diet maintenance will pay off and they will become a world champion. But that is mostly where the similarities end.

While the polarizing world of MMA is very much revered for the athletic abilities of the combatants, there is another realm of consideration that seems to equally dictate where a fighter’s career will ultimately go – the intangible, ever-important draw of “personality.” While the cool, quiet Anderson Silva’s of the sport can sometimes pull huge numbers off of their freakish execution of combat greatness alone, it is the Chael Sonnen’s of the game with their berating wit and absurd rhetoric that keep themselves in the spotlight. They make the most out of every moment that a microphone or a television segment is thrust into their schedule, and when one mixes these clever performances with decent athletic skills, a recipe for a noteworthy career is created.

Enter “The Warmaster.”

Josh Barnett is truly the closest thing to a modern day Renaissance man. He’s a professional UFC fighter, a collector and restorer of vintage automobiles, an avid “Magic: The Gathering” player, and an all-around intellectual, reader, and continually self-educating man. He’s even ventured into the wildly entertaining world of pro wrestling in Japan, and to this day, remains an enormously popular name in the East. His catch-wrestling and well-rounded fighting abilities placed him in some of the biggest fights the legendary Pride FC had to offer, and while he may not have been successful in his contests against the sharpest heavyweights in the world, he often made a perfect counter personality to the wordless, stoics of the division like Fedor and Cro Cop, while also retaining the skills to provide some very competitive fights that he most certainly could have won.

Plus, he looks like a freaking Norse warrior from ages past.

At a recent bodybuilding expo, the giant, red-bearded heavyweight gave a brief interview and touched on a few different subjects ranging from the individual subjectivity of events like bodybuilding, to filming a new movie in Romania (presumably a period film where they need a scary-ass, Viking-looking man with a beard to also be “emotive”). The most interesting quote of the whole interview however, was when he proclaimed with absolute seriousness that he can quite literally “beat any man in the world.

Now, most fight fans and media reps would scoff at such a remark coming from a guy who hasn’t even yet been close to a UFC title shot. But, a few important things must always been kept in mind when considering such statements – the first being, he truly is an extremely talented fighter. Secondly, one must always remember that in the Heavyweight division, the better fighter does not always win. If one gets caught just right, the likelihood of recovery beyond the flying hands of those behemoths is dangerously slim. There was fifty full minutes of relentless mauling and sad brain punishment inflicted on Junior Dos Santos by the champion Cain Velasquez in their last two combined fights, and amidst the hard-to-watch destruction, one can easily forget that the first time those two met, Dos Santos skull-punched Velasquez’s face straight into the Octagon floor and won the Heavyweight title. Lastly, the division is shallow. Someone as elite as Barnett only has to win a couple fights to be in position for the right set of circumstances to see him become champion. Barnett has taken a little bit of time off, current champ Velasquez is continually injury-ridden, and contender Fabricio Werdum has looked more dangerous than ever. Perhaps Werdum wins the title, The Warmaster wins his next few fights, and just like that – the eighteen year veteran Josh Barnett applies almost two decades of experience with a rejuvenated body and wins his first UFC championship, fulfilling his declaration ‘I can beat any man in the world.”

Some will say it isn’t likely. But after watching the forty year old Croatian superstar Mirko “Cro Cop” return to the Octagon and revenge the worst loss of his Heavyweight career a couple of weeks ago, maybe a new successful run for the older, wiser veterans isn’t too far from the realm of possibility.

The late martial arts legend Bruce Lee once famously said “To Hell with circumstances, I create opportunities” and in keeping with this philosophy, if anyone could make the most out of the remaining possibilities in a fight career, the always entertaining, supremely dangerous Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett could be the one.

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Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223



UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.


Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.

After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.

A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.

Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.

Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.

A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.

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Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet



Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April



MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by, came Sunday night before confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.


The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.

Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.

An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.

His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).

Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.

PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.

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