Friend of our site

MMA Headlines


Bleacher Report

MMA Fighting

MMA Torch

MMA Weekly

Sherdog (News)

Sherdog (Articles)

Liver Kick

MMA Mania

Bloody Elbow

MMA Ratings

Rating Fights

Yahoo MMA Blog

Search this site

Latest Articles

News Corner

MMA Rising

Audio Corner


Sherdog Radio

Eddie Goldman

Video Corner

Fight Hub

Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index

To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site

Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback

Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

Is Josh Barnett one win away from a heavyweight title shot?

By Zach Arnold | September 23, 2013

Print Friendly and PDF

So far, we have six matches announced for the UFC 168 event on December 28th at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. A look at the card so far:

With Jon Jones having a bruising battle against Alexander Gustafsson in Toronto at UFC 165, it’s clear that he’s not ready to make a move to Heavyweight. Which means that depth of quality heavyweights is non-existent at this point and it’s why UFC is rushing to sign a lot of new heavyweights who the company probably would have never considered booking in the past.

All of this leads to a situation that is prime for Josh Barnett, the wily veteran, to take advantage of. Despite his drug testing failures and business differences with the Zuffa empire, Barnett has the leverage in the business relationship right now and could gain even more leverage if he gets a win over Travis Browne. Browne is coming off a ballsy comeback performance in Boston against Alistair Overeem. Browne’s fight was on the same FS1 telecast as Chael Sonnen vs. Mauricio Shogun, which means a whole lot of people watched the fight. And a whole lot of people are going to be watching the UFC 168 PPV as well. Weidman/Anderson is a pick ’em fight and Ronda is a 10-to-1 favorite over Tate.

As for Barnett, Jordan Breen says he’s a slight favorite… a very slight favorite.

“I still imagine Josh Barnett being able to get Travis Browne to the ground, even though I don’t think Josh Barnett is as good a wrestler as maybe as advertised sometimes. Barnett just isn’t a good outside wrestler, he’s not a guy with a power-double, he doesn’t maul guys to the ground. He basically has to punch his way in, get there, and then find ways to get leverage inside, trip guys to the canvas. Nothing wrong with that, just a tough order against Travis Brown who’s a big, athletic guy. He’s not just some lumbering 6’7″, 6’8” idiot. This is a guy that’s got some real athletic acumen, has slimmed down, is more aerodynamic and can do some different stuff in there. And we know that he’s not just going to submit to the odds, take a beating and crumble and die. Otherwise, Alistair Overeem would have beaten him. Travis Browne, when he came back, put a teep in his face.

“I still feel like Barnett probably deserves a little early favoritism. I see a lot of clinching, I think Barnett tries to smother him, take that reach away. Barnett’s a clever guy and I think he’ll do a good job of that but the question is how much offense can he actually rack up? Because we’ve seen some Josh Barnett fights historically, can’t get a guy to the ground, end up clinching along the fence, the ropes, and it’s not the most appetizing look and more than that, Travis Browne is someone that can actually hit hard and do some things close inside. I wouldn’t want to get caught with a Travis Browne knee to the face, to be sure. So, I favor Josh Barnett.

“The other part of the question is if he won, is he getting a title shot? I think so. How many other heavyweight options do you have? We’re going to have Cain Velasquez & Junior Dos Santos fight for a third time. That’ll be over. Daniel Cormier’s still got his eye on 205 pounds and he’s not going to fight Cain Velasquez, so short of JDS pulling it off in the third fight surprising people again, that ain’t going to happen. Who else is there? Fabricio Werdum? I mean, I have… I think Fabricio Werdum has shown his worth as a MMA heavyweight time and time again. I’d love to see him get that fight. If it means that him and Barnett have to do some kind of title eliminator, cool, but that’s really it. That’s the only other really feasible competition he has for a heavyweight title shot right now.

“This isn’t true just of Josh Barnett. I mean, I don’t think that his past with Dana White being prickly and, you know, saying some unsavory things about him in public in the past is going to hurt him based on the fact that they just need guys to fight for the heavyweight title. They love Cain Velasquez, they want to push him. You always want interesting challengers, worthwhile challengers for your champion. There’s just no one else. After the JDS/Velasquez III fight, it’s pretty much Browne, Barnett, Werdum, or bust. Stipe Miocic isn’t there as a contender quite yet. I mean, who are the UFC’s other prospects? I don’t know, maybe Shawn Jordan really gets it all together and turns into the guy but I’m not seeing it. There’s not that many options and when you don’t have that many options, it forces your hand. Josh Barnett, even if he was still publicly miserable to Dana White, if he went out and performed against Travis Browne in the worst case scenario, the very worst, title eliminator and I still don’t think that happens because we often talk about, ‘well, what if we do a title eliminator in this situation? what if we do a title eliminator in that situation?’ and the reputation of it or the shooting down of the idea is typically, ‘well, if we do that, we only have one contender where we used to have two.’ If there’s any division where that is always going to stand up where that’s going to always be a factor where you’re always going to have to consider how important it is to have two contenders instead of one, heavyweight’s going to be the division. It’s going to be one lacking depth and more than that you get a guy like Cain Velasquez who comes on the scene, rolls strong, beats up a lot of good guys fast… there’s not as many clear answers.”

How would you set the odds for the Barnett/Browne fight if you were an oddsmaker?

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 20 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

20 Responses to “Is Josh Barnett one win away from a heavyweight title shot?”

  1. Chuck Finley's Hat says:

    If he does … well … everything the UFC ever says about roids officially becomes meaningless.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      It became meaningless when they signed him.

      • The Gaijin says:

        I think you mean it became meaningless when they started supporting/turning a blind eye on TRT.

        • edub says:

          I’ll go with it became meaningless when they inducted Coleman in to the HOF.

        • edub says:

          Meh, that’s probably a bit harsh.

          I retract my statement.

        • The Gaijin says:

          How about holding up the LW title for Sean Sherk when he was suspended for steroids and then giving him an immediate rematch on his return?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          What are you talking about The Gaijin?

          The UFC Fighters are tested by the F#CKING GOVERNMENT!!!

        • The Gaijin says:

          Hah! Yes, guys like Keith Kizer and the Florida or Texas state AC’s. Bastions of competence and integrity…these places are truly doing god’s work.

        • Safari_Punch says:

          Barnett was tested in Ohio in Strikeforce. Funny how Josh wasn’t going to be allowed to fight Brett Rogers in Columbus, Ohio (they moved the fight to Texas), but when Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, ‘Warmaster’ was permitted to fight in Cincinatti, Ohio against Sergei Kharitonov.

          Is your issue with the athletic commission or those that can make the athletic commissions do things for them from time to time?

  2. Chris says:

    I’m not good at setting odds, but I like Josh over Browne by decision.

  3. Chuck says:

    I would say Barnett would be about a 2-1 favorite to win by a unanimous decision. Great fight on paper, but I think Barnett should be the slight favorite.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    UFC 168 right now has 3 really good fights. I would be surprised if they add much more depth to the show since there are so many other stacked cards before the end of the year.

    Bellator did 700,000 viewers…. But still failed to get into the Top 100 Cable Shows in the key demographic.

  5. bluerosekiller says:

    I certainly hope that the winner of Barnett-Browne gets the next shot at the belt because better that than yet another recycled heavyweight that would be yet another rematch for either Velasquez or JDS.

  6. Rob Maysey says:

    Hall? The same guy John Howard just beat? Where is John Howard?

    Is that for real?

    • duck says:

      Is what for real? Uriah Hall fighting Chris Leben on the prelims? with the loser most likely getting cut, it’s not like he’s getting a big push or anything.

      I have no idea if John Howard is injured or anything but I’m sure he will get a fight soon.

  7. david m says:

    Barnett is a tough, cerebral, and uber-talented fighter. He is not much of an athlete. Browne’s size could pose problems, but let’s not forget how easily Barnett handled a guy in Semmy Schilt who is like Browne but far more athletic and a much better striker.

    • Michaelthebox says:

      You’re seriously referencing a fight that happened 12 years ago to comment on Barnett and Browne’s skillsets?

      • The Gaijin says:

        To be fair, it was 9+ years ago because he beat him a second time at Inoki BBY NYE 2003…pretty much a carbon copy, at least of the finish.

        Barnett has only gotten better and craftier since then really and he’s also faced stronger competition since then too.

        But, yes – 10 year old fights are not the “best” references, even if they’re good ones.

      • David m says:

        Yes I am. Barnett has aged quite well in mma terms. He avoids damage, controls distance, is a excellent positional grappler, and quite cagey. I don’t think Travis is as good as Sammy (by a wide margin) and I imagine this fight will go something like that one.


To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-spam image