“When I walk in the ring, in my mind, I’m making my first title defense. That’s the way I see it. We’ve always been in different places, even when he was fighting for titles. No one ever took my belt from me, so I don’t know what belt they were swinging around, but that wasn’t the UFC heavyweight title as far as I was concerned and I was off at Pride fighting the top dudes in the world at the time.”
Former UFC Heavyweight champion Josh Barnett recently told mmaweekly.com that his upcoming UFC 164 co-main event against Frank Mir will serve as the first title defense of his UFC heavyweight championship reign.
At UFC 36 Barnett stopped the legend, Randy Couture, with punches in the second round to become the UFC heavyweight champion. He was later stripped from his title for testing positive for banned substances.
He immediately fled the American MMA scene and spent the next five-years in Japan’s fighting circuit until returning stateside for Affliction and Strikeforce.