Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett recently spoke to Sean Ross Sapp of WrestlingINC about his run in NJPW, his commentary work with New Japan and AXS, the possibility of joining WWE, TNA or ROH, and much more. You can see a some of the highlights below:
Have you ever been contacted by TNA or WWE?
“I think the biggest thing is, they don’t want someone to come in and upend their show.”
Is that something you’d ever entertain the idea of, working for WWE, TNA or ROH?
“Sure! Working is working, and there’s a lot of great guys in WWE that I’d love to put on a match with. The thing is, wherever I go, I’m a wrestler. I’m not an entertainer or superstar or whatever. I’m a wrestler first, and I won’t concede on that.”
His NJPW on AXS commentary:
“It was just a matter of getting back into the seat and letting things flow. I’ve done commentary before for Pancrase, they had a show called Pancrase: Legends of MMA that aired on Imagination Television. I’ve done live commentary for PRIDE, I’ve been around the block a bit. For some time, I hadn’t had the opportunity. Luckily enough I had someone like Mauro to be there alongside me and help me out. Mauro has it down to a real sweet science. He can practically call a show by himself.”
In your immediate future is a fight with Roy Nelson, as well as a Road To Japan show. What can you tell us about that?
“I would like to think of it as The Ultimate Fighter Lite. I’d always looked at TUF and thought I’d like to do something like that. I’ve coached a lot of athletes over the years and it’s not new to me to work with people and create drilling structure and things for them. I would hear all these horror stories about these fighters coming into a reality show and just be overwhelmed and pissed off and would never do it again, well then it’s not for you. You certainly don’t make good television being sh-tty at it.”
“I couldn’t think of anyone better to teach Japanese athlete than myself. All the time I spent in Japan training under people in Japanese systems. Speaking a moderate amount of Japanese, there was no better choice. I’m glad they thought the same thing.”
“If he’s healthy, and wants to, and has the motivation to do it, I’m really happy for him to come back to the sport and get the most out of that career of his. He had a couple of losses towards the end of his run that I didn’t think were indicative of him as a fighter. His last two fights, he looked very sharp. If he’s feeling great it’s going to be a great opportunity for him and the fans.”
Barnett also talks about returning to pro wrestling after his MMA career, training several of the Four Horsewomen, his movie roles, and much more. You can check out the full, two-part interview at this link.