When Brock Lesnar’s comeback at UFC 200 was announced, former Pride superstar Josh Barnett has been one of the first fighters to throw his hat in the ring to face the fellow pro-wrestler and former UFC heavyweight champion. During the latest episode of The MMA Hour, Barnett explained why.
“I wanted it because after five fights, they tried to say he was the No. 1 heavyweight in the world, which I thought was insulting to all of us. Not that he wasn’t talented, not that he didn’t have the potential to be far better than he ever was able to really show out there with such a young career, but it just felt like utter and absolute propaganda.
“[He] never came out, never seemed to take the time in between his fights to become a much better fighter,” Barnett continued. “And I felt like, ‘Well, that was part of the reason his last couple fights went the way they did.'” (Transcription via MMAFighting.com)
Brock Lesnar claimed the UFC heavyweight title with a win over Randy Couture in 2008, but eventually gave up the belt to Cain Velasquez two years later. He finally left the UFC for pro-wrestling company WWE after he lost another straight fight against Alistair Overeem in 2011. His one-night-only comeback at UFC 200 has been announced during the UFC 199 broadcast, and Samoan striking machine Mark Hunt was named as his opponent only a few days later.
Many fighters, fans and pundits are counting Lesnar out against the seasoned K-1 veteran Hunt. Barnett, on his part, at least doesn’t believe that the WWE superstar has made any progression since his last outings in the UFC and that he will perform any different than he did when he lost his last two fights.
“I don’t know what he’s done from then until now, but being out of it as long as he has, I don’t think he’s going to be stepping into the cage a better fighter than he was when he left.”
Barnett will square off with Andrei Arlovski in a battle of former heavyweight titleholders at UFC Fight Night in Hamburg on September 3.
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