(YES, MY LIEGE. / Image via 2Jupes on the UG)
Think of what you were doing 11 years ago. Most of you might envision a moment in your life that probably seems like ancient history now. George W. Bush was in his first term, Nelly was on the radio; I was fresh out of college, working at an Urban Outfitters, hoping that I’d eventually find a better job. (I did, fortunately.) The year was 2002, and it was the last time Josh Barnett competed in the UFC.
Most of you already know the tale: Barnett beats down Randy Couture in the second round of the their headlining title fight at UFC 36, then tests positive for steroids and is stripped of his title. He spends the next six years competing almost exclusively in Japan, gets himself in more PED trouble while fighting for Affliction, and has a minor career rebirth in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix of 2011-2012, where he finishes Brett Rogers and Sergei Kharitonov with startling ease (both by arm-triangle-choke), but gets his ass handed to him by Daniel Cormier.
Perhaps against their better judgment, the UFC has given Barnett one more chance to fight in the Octagon, and he’s just gotten his return opponent. The UFC confirmed last night that Barnett will face Frank Mir — himself a former heavyweight champ from a bygone era — at UFC 164, August 31st in Milwaukee. [Ed. note: They want us to refer to this event as "UFC 164: Harley Davidson Hometown Throwdown" but fuck that.]
There’s a few ways to look at this match…
- It’s the greatest meeting of aging legends since Schwarzenegger and Stallone shared a hospital room. Let’s just enjoy this thing for what it is.
- Mir is coming off back-to-back losses to Junior Dos Santos (by TKO) and most recently to Cormier (by decision), in a fight where Frank didn’t seem to do much besides get held against the fence. He needs a win here.
- Barnett has looked stellar against opponents who don’t know how to defend a takedown or an arm-triangle choke. Mir won’t be that easy to run through. And maybe this fight will turn out to be one of those “two great grapplers put on a bad kickboxing match” deals.
- If Barnett tests positive for PED’s one more time, Dana White will fuck him worse than he’s ever been fucked.
Your predictions, please.