Josh Barnett hasn't fought in the U.S. since failing a drug test in 2009 that forced the cancellation of Affliction's third MMA pay per view which was to have been headlined by Barnett vs Fedor Emelianenko. If the Texas Department of License and Regulation permits it (and all signs are pointing to yes), Barnett will be returning to action against Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum.
Barnett and Rogers will be facing off in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum are in the other tourny fight on the card. Antonio Silva and Sergei Kharitonov won their first round fights against Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski, respectively back in February.
Barnett talked to MMA Weekly about his experience edge over Rogers:
"He's still fairly young, not real young to this sport, but he doesn't come there with the pedigree that I do. So, by all means I should take him out, but nothing's to be said until the fight actually goes down, and anything can happen out there in the ring," said Barnett.
"He's far from being one of the best guys out there in its entirety. What I mean by this is to be consistently one of the best guys. I think if he touches you he can knock anybody out, but I don't think even he would be willing to say that he's acquired all the skills that are necessary to be the best fighter in the world at this point," Barnett stated.
He also told Sherdog he's the meanest fighter in the field:
"Plain and simple, I'm the best fighter in this tournament. I've got the most experience. ... I've been fighting longer. I've been in the sport longer. I've fought all the top guys, and the fact that some of these guys in the tournament are the top guys now, well, they weren't the top guys when I was fighting. A lot of the top guys I fought were the top guys for years, some near a decade. Just because you got into the upper echelon just now -- we'll see how it turns out later on in life. I've got the biggest skill set and I think I've got the best overall, all-around ability and I'm just the meanest, angriest, most bloodthirsty bastard out of them all."
He also spoke to Karyn Bryant of MMA Heat, that video interview is in the full entry.
SBN coverage of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum