Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finalist Josh Barnett has submitted his first two tournament opponents.
But, that doesn’t mean “The Warmaster” has a problem standing and trading punches with any and every one.
“You’ve got to (engage in the stand-up). Every fight starts on the feet. If you want to send me to K-1, I can fight over there,” Barnett said. “I’ve sparred and trained with guys who are K-1 grand prix-level guys and done just fine.”
Barnett (31-5) used a perfectly-designed trip-takedown to get Sergei Kharitonov to his back Saturday night at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov. After peppering his opponent with short punches and elbows, Barnett slide into an arm-triangle choke for the win.
“You don’t just throw a left-hook and then pray for it to land. Some people do, and sometimes it works, but when you get to the top level, you need to throw what’s appropriate when you’ve set (your opponent) up for it,” Barnett said. “When you see him give that opening to you, you catch that timing. I can stand with anybody, but we’re not in there to just one thing.
“It’s mixed martial arts. How do you cut all of the strengths off of your opponent and then put him into his (weakest area)?”
Of Barnett’s 31 career wins, 19 have come by submission. He owns seven victories by some form of knockout. Overall, four of his last five wins have come via submission.
A date for the Barnett-Daniel Cormier grand prix final has not been announced.