Despite being passed up for a shot at WAMMA heavyweight title-holder Fedor Emelianenko, and amid rumors of a possible pay-reduction request from the company's front office, heavyweight Josh Barnett (23-5) is preparing himself for a rumored October Affliction card.
Barnett discussed his possible return while a guest on "The Lights Out Show" on the TAGG Radio Network (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"I've got a pro wrestling match Aug. 15 in Tokyo, Japan," Barnett said. "After that, I guess I'll be fighting someone Oct. 11. I don't know who yet."
Despite no official announcement from Affliction, Barnett feels confident the rumored show will come to fruition.
"I'm training for it," Barnett said.
Barnett, who has fought in several organizations throughout his 11-year career (including the UFC and PRIDE), said he enjoyed his first experience with the debuting Affliction promotion. The proximity of the Anaheim, Calif. show to the southern California resident's home was one reason Barnett was pleased.
"It was nice to be able to just hang out in my own house (and) drive down to the arena (and to) have all my friends and family be able to come and see me that live here in the States," Barnett said.
There was another simpler, yet important, reason Barnett hopes to return to the Affliction ring.
"I think [Affliction] is doing a pretty good job," Barnett said. "PRIDE owes me money. And the check from Affliction went through just fine. They're certainly a step up there."
After Affliction's first show, many believed a Barnett vs. Emelianenko bout would be the next logical step for both fighters. The prevailing belief at this point, however, is that Emelianenko will be paired with Belarusian heavyweight and former UFC title-holder Andrei Arlovski.
Barnett said he was unconcerned with Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio's choice of opponent.
"It's not about chasing down fights or fighters, particularly," Barnett said. "The fights will come. And I'm going to be standing on top."
Although official announcements regarding a future Affliction show have yet to be made, Barnett encouraged fans to contact the organization if a fight between "The Babyface Assassin" and "The Last Emperor" was something they wanted to see on an upcoming card.
"If people really want to see this fight, then they need to say something," Barnett said. "Write Affliction or whoever. Let it be known. If that's the fight you want to see, then say so."
With rumors swirling that Affliction may ask its fighters to take an alleged 50 percent pay decrease in the future, the possibility of a Barnett vs. Emelianenko bout may prove doubtful. But Barnett wanted everyone to know he's not opposed to the proposition.
"I know I've got a lot of great fans here, and I'm not here to let them down or sleight them," Barnett said. "There's nobody I wouldn't fight."
To hear the full interview, in which Barnett discusses other possible opponents as well as his extensive career in Japan, download Thursday's edition of "The Lights Out Show," available for free in the TAGG Radio Network archives.