I spoke to former UFC Heavyweight Champion and New Japan Pro Wrestling commentator Josh Barnett recently about his work with NJPW, as well as his huge main event fight with heavyweight mainstay Roy Nelson.
Barnett and Nelson participated in an offshoot of The Ultimate Fighter titled Road to the Octagon. The show has finally culminated, and the two coaches will clash Saturday night at UFC Fight Night Japan. Barnett explained the process to us.
"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," Barnett said.
Coaching comes naturally to the veteran Barnett. Between his work with NJPW, his UFC fights, being Metamoris heavyweight champion and acting in movies, he also coaches at CSW in California.
"I couldn't think of anyone better to teach Japanese athlete than myself," he explained. "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."
Wrestling Inc will have a full report of UFC Fight Night Japan following the event Saturday night.