Former UFC heavyweight champions Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski had an incredible fight at UFC Fight Night 93. Barnett won, and Arlovski dropped to 0-3 his last three.
Arlovksi has been there before. From 2009-2011 he lost four in a row, to Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers, Bigfoot Silva, and Sergei Kharitonov. Then he won four in a row, with one No Contest, before losing to Anthony Johnson. Then he won six in a row, the last three over Bigfoot, Travis Browne, and Frank Mir.
The question now is, can he come back at 37?
At the UFC Fight Night 93’s post-fight news conference, Arlovski said yes.
“He was the better man tonight,” said Arlovski, as transcribed by Mike Bohn for MMAjunkie. “Yeah, I lost my third fight, and now I’m going to take some time off and I’m going to come back stronger. At least he didn’t knock me out – he choked me. He has great wrestling skills, so he was the better man today. I’m still top 10, so it’s totally up to my managers what’s next for me, and it’s also up to the UFC.”
“It is what it is – like I said, Josh was the better man tonight. My coaches, we’re going to see what’s going wrong with my camp and we’re going to move forward. I’m still top 10 and I lost to two guys who are going to fight (at UFC 203) for the title. … I still have fire in my eyes, so I’m ready to go.”
Barnett too made the case that three losses in a row is not always the end of a career.
“I know Andrei did lose tonight, but it’s not just about winning and losing out here,” said Barnett. “If you look at all the people he’s fought over the years, who I’ve fought over the years, we have wins and losses against all-time greats. It’s not so trivial. One of his recent losses was Overeem, who’s in a title fight … Stipe, who’s the champion. So it’s not like we’re going out there and fighting the ‘Bum of the Month’ club. We’re fighting the best out there that the world can provide. If we lose a few, who cares? Who else besides us is capable of going out there and meeting that type of competition time and time again.”
Barnett also spoke about the UFN 93 main event, and about his own future.
“I was never hurt in the fight,” he said at the post-fight press conference, as transcribed by Mike Sloan for Sherdog. “That’s more due to having either an abnormally thick skull or very little brain matter. I’ve taken the best shots from the best strikers.”
“Andrei comes out wild, like a savage. He was throwing right hand after hand and throwing just one punch. I was being pulled into a wild exchange. I didn’t think he would try for a takedown but when he did it was like I was watching him do it. As the fight went on, he was feeling more fatigued. I didn’t want to overly commit and open myself up to something really nasty.”
Barnett came into the fight ranked #9, to Arlovski’s #6, and looked incredible, and incredibly exciting. Another win, and he could easily get a title shot. An accident to a contender, and he could be in.
“Guys like me or Andrei, we’ve already won belts,” explained Barnett. “There’s a slew of guys in the heavyweight division who are capable of being champions. We are always ready to step in and take the fight. I think a heavyweight championship fight could be in the future. If (Alistair) Overeem gets hurt or something, I’ll be ready to fill in for him.”