This weekend, in the main event of the UFC’s latest trip to Germany, former heavyweight champions Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski will collide in a bout that is rich in implications.
The loser of this heavyweight showdown will take a dangerous step down the rankings, probably to the outermost reaches of the division’s top-10. The winner, meanwhile, will regain their footing as a bona fide contender, and enter a sprint toward the title amid monsters like Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, Ben Rothwell and Fabricio Werdum.
While Barnett and Arlovski’s fight is a relevant contender bout, however, it’s also likely to be one of the final fights of both their careers.
Arlovski, to remind, is 37 years old. Barnett, meanwhile, is closing in on 39. Neither man is a spring chicken, and no matter the outcome of their looming showdown, both are likely to hang up the gloves in the near future.
In a recent interview with Fox Sports, Barnett addressed his fighting future, and his inevitable ride off into the sunset.
“That’s the kind of thing where I’ll know it when I see it, but for right now I’ve got to concentrate on this fight,” Barnett said of his retirement. “After that it’s really up in the air.”
Knowing that this fight could be one of his and Arlovski’s last, however, provides Barnett with an extra bit of motivation.
“I’m not going to let Andrei Arlovski retire with a win over me,” he said. “I don’t think he’s got long for being in this career. He’s had a lot of great fights in his career and neither one of us is getting any younger.”
Yet while Barnett understands that the end of his almost 20-year career is approaching, he also remains confident that he can beat any fighter on the planet.
“I stand by my word that I can beat anybody in the world,” he told Fox Sports. “Stick me in any fight, any championship match, and I can go out there and win it. I can beat anybody for any title in the world, right now.”
How do you think Barnett will fare against Arlovski this weekend, and when do you think he should retire? Sound off, PENN nation!