Joshua Lawrence Barnett (November 10, 1977) is an American mixed martial artist and professional wrestler who competes in the Heavyweight division of the UFC. He is the former UFC Heavyweight Champion, as well as the inaugural and current Metamoris Heavyweight Champion. He has also won the King of Pancrase Openweight Championship and was a finalist in the PRIDE 2006 Openweight Grand Prix and the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship. Barnett claims a mixed martial arts record of "over 50-8" when both sanctioned and unsanctioned bouts are counted. He has also competed in Affliction, World Victory Road, DREAM and Impact FC.

Early life

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Barnett had a troubled childhood and often got into fights. He was put into anger management programs at a young age and learned to cope with his anger by participating in athletics. Barnett attended Ballard High School, where he excelled at wrestling, football, and also trained in kickboxing. After seeing UFC 2 as a sophomore, he decided that he wanted to be a mixed martial arts fighter. Barnett had originally attended the University of Montana to play football for the school as a walk-on, but decided not to play the sport for the university. At the recommendation of an instructor at Montana, Barnett went to train at the dojo of Jim Harrison. Although he did not have the money for classes, he received training in exchange for helping with maintenance and labor at the dojo.

Professional wrestling

New Japan Pro Wrestling (2003–2004)

Barnett began his overseas career as a professional wrestler in the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) organization, where he wrestled numerous matches in 2003 and 2004. In his first match, he wrestled champion Yuji Nagata for that promotions version of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Although unsuccessful in that match, Barnett formed a tag team with Perry Saturn and was undefeated in the following NJPW tour, Fighting Spirit 2003. Barnett wrestled over 50 matches in total for the NJPW promotion.

In January 2015, Barnett began working as a color commentator for NJPW's weekly program on AXS TV.

Inoki Genome Federation (2007–2014)

Barnett debuted in Antonio Inoki's Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) wrestling promotion in June 2007 with a victory over Tadao Yasuda. He racked up victories against Don Frye and Montanha Silva before suffering his first loss against Naoya Ogawa. The same man he beat earlier in the night. Since the loss, he has been on a winning streak beating The Predator, Hitokui Yoshiki, Tank Abbott, Jon Andersen, Fonseca, Atsushi Sawada, Bob Sapp, Ultimate Mask, Tim Sylvia, Montanha Silva, Bobby Lashley and Hideki Suzuki.

Starting in February at IGF Genome 14, IGF began a title tournament to crown a new Heavyweight Champion and Barnett not only continued his winning streak but he advanced to the semi-finals of the tournament with his victory over Montanha Silva. In July at IGF Genome 16, he defeated Bobby Lashley with a cross armbreaker to advance to the finals of the title tournament. Was scheduled to face Jérôme Le Banner for the IGF Heavyweight Championship in a tournament final scheduled for August 27 at the IGF Super Stars Festival 2011. However, it was announced on August 19 that Barnett had to pull out of the match up and Le Banner was declared the first ever IGF champion on August 22. However, Josh Barnett would get his shot at the IGF Heavyweight Championship on December 2 against the champion, Jerome Le Banner. Barnett would lose the contest by knockout.

On New Year's Eve, Barnett made his return to Japan for the DREAM, "Fight for Japan" event, where he would face Hideki Suzuki in an IGF Rules match. After a wrestling clinic was put on by both athletes, it was Barnett who won with a brainbuster to seal the victory.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2017)

During the January 2017 Impact Wrestling tapings, Barnett joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), answering an open challenge from Bobby Lashley, facing him in a match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. The following week on Impact!, Barnett defeated Bad Bones in his in-ring debut. The Following week on Impact Wresling, Barnett was defeated by Lashley in TNA World Heavyweight Championship match.

Personal life

In an interview on The Steve Austin Show, Barnett confirmed that he is not religious. In his spare time, he enjoys driving and repairing automobiles, preferring vintage models. He is a self-proclaimed cinephile and cites the director's cut of Blade Runner as his favorite motion picture.

He plays and is a fan of the card game Magic: The Gathering.

In wrestling

External links

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