For a time, Josh Barnett (31-6) and Fedor Emelianenko (35-4-1 NC) were ranked by many as the top heavyweights on the planet. They competed in the same organizations such as Pride, Affliction and Strikeforce though never fought.
“The whole thing is just a disappointment,” said Barnett to Sherdog. “It was just a terrible thing and it would have been great to have had that fight happen.”
The two were going to fight at Affliction: Trilogy in August 2008, but Barnett failed a drug test for steroids 10 days before the show and was removed by the CASC. The fight was never rescheduled and Affliction folded less than a year later.
Barnett knows that the two meeting will never happen now and understands that’s how the fight business works. Emelianenko retired over the summer and Barnett remains under a Strikeforce contract.
There has been no conformation what will happen to Barnett now that Strikeforce is closing after their January 12 card. Barnett meets Nandor Guelmino (11-3) from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK in the final Strikeforce outing.
“At that time, it was a big deal and it would have been an awesome event for MMA in general, but that moment has passed,” said Barnett. “That’s just the way it goes. When opportunities are there, you’ve just got to be ready to capitalize on them.”