UFC, PRIDE and K-1 veteran Josh Barnett (22-5) is perhaps one of the least-known commodities in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division to American fans. But if Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio has his way, "The Babyface Assassin" will soon be a household name.
The first roadblock on that journey is the first man ever to beat Barnett, the heavy-handed Pedro Rizzo (16-7).
Already a legend in Japan, Barnett and Atencio discussed Barnett's upcoming bout with longtime-veteran Rizzo at "Affliction: Banned" today on a media conference call.
"One of my goals is to make Josh famous here (in America), as well," Atencio said. "I think that he deserves the recognition."
For his part, the one-time UFC heavyweight champion downplayed the importance of recognition in his homeland.
"I didn’t do this to become famous," Barnett said. "I did it because I wanted to be the baddest guy on the planet."
Barnett has long been considered among the most talented heavyweights in the world. At just 24, the Washington native defeated MMA legend Randy Couture to become the UFC's heavyweight champion in 2002. A highly controversial steroid scandal followed, and Barnett left the UFC to compete in Japan.Link