Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett is anxious to step back inside the Octagon.
Barnett will get his long-awaited return later this month when he faces Frank Mir at UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis.
For the veteran, seeing today’s new-age fighter come into play has given him mixed feelings on the sport.
“I think a lot of guys fight not for the reasons we used to fight for,” said Barnett, during a conference call Tuesday. “We used to fight for glory, blood and honor. A lot of guys get in here thinking they want to be famous, make a lot of money.
“There are still great true fighters coming out of it, but they are not quite as tough as they used to be.”
Barnett added that fighters today are “way better athletes, but some of these guys don’t have that grit.”
After leaving the UFC and venturing to Japan and Strikeforce among other places, Barnett has been putting in the time in the gym to prepare for Mir, also a former UFC heavyweight champion.
“All I know at this point is how to punch stuff, scream and pain from the workouts,” he said. “All I do is train right now.”
As someone who has used his skills to compete in pro wrestling, Barnett understands that in this day, you can place yourself into movie roles, TV spots and other money-making areas thanks to MMA.
“Today, the opportunity branch out (is there),” he said. “There is an acceptance from the mainstream public, a brighter spotlight.
“As far as making a living, it is far better than when I started.”