Josh Barnett has competed in the UFC before.
Barnett, who will meet Sergei Kharitonov this Saturday in the semifinals of the heavyweight grand prix at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov live on Showtime, was released from the UFC after failing a drug test.
“The Warmaster” had just claimed the heavyweight title from Randy Couture, but was forced to compete in smaller promotions in different countries before returning to the U.S. through Affliction and now Strikeforce.
With his mind and body focusing in on Kharitonov for now, Barnett discussed a possible move to the UFC if it were presented to him.
“I don’t actually count anything as an open door to the UFC,” said Barnett, who has had run-ins with UFC President Dana White and several athletic commissions. “There is no open door to the UFC. You’re in the UFC when you sign a contract and you step into the ring. Until then, none of it matters or counts. You’ve got to win the fight put in front of you and then you make your steps from there. Until you win those fights, it’s really all (expletive).”
Barnett, who like to dabble in professional wrestling but was forced to cancel an appearance because Zuffa didn’t want him getting an injury just days before the grand prix resumed, has 18 submission wins and is 30-5 in his career.
After going by the nickname “The Baby-Faced Assassin” for years, Barnett was given his new moniker of “The Warmaster” by a band.
“I’m just too old to be a ‘baby-faced’ anything anymore,” Barnett said. “The band ‘Bolt Thrower’ gave me the nickname ‘The Warmaster.’ You don’t get to choose your nicknames. They’re given to you. It seemed like the right time to change things up.”
Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov will also feature the other semifinal fight between Antonio Silva and Daniel Cormier. FightLine.com will have all your latest news and results from the card on Saturday.