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Josh Barnett open to Jared Rosholt's challenge, but in no rush to fight

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Josh Barnett had an answer on Monday for Jared Rosholt, the UFC heavyweight fighter who recently called Barnett out over Twitter.

"It's unusual for someone to actually call me out for once," the former UFC heavyweight champion said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "But I mean, I guess if there was a possibility to make that fight, I would show the world exactly why I'm not the one call out."

Just don't expect Barnett to rearrange his schedule to make the fight happen. Barnett hasn't been seen in the Octagon since his first-round loss to Travis Browne at UFC 168, but he's been a busy man.

His activities, of course, include his most recent headline-making event, in which Barnett became the first person to submit Dean Lister in 16 years and won the Metamoris heavyweight title on Aug. 9 in Los Angeles.

Barnett went in to the submission grappling event representing the art of catch wrestling, which traces back to the earliest days of professional wrestling, with legitimate competitors who could take care of themselves in any situation, even if the wrestling business itself was something less than on the level.

"I just thought, how cool would that be, how much would it put people on their heads if I walk out, pro wrestling trunks, shoes, a robe, the whole deal, and take it back to the old school days Frank Gotch, Karl Gotch, Billy Robinson, [Antonio] Inoki, Lou Thesz and those kind of guys, and bring it full circle back to professional grappling's real roots."

Since the victory, Barnett has experienced backlash from some corners of the jiu-jitsu community, as people have criticized everything from the weight disparity between Barnett and Lister to wearing wrestling shoes. For his part, Barnett says he was simply representing his roots, and not looking to disrespect the grappling community.

"I've seen a lot of fire from what I am assuming is the jiu-jitsu community online after the fact," Branett said. "In terms of saying things like, oh, it was because he was big. By the way, I don't know what our weights were on the night of the event. I don't think Dean was 220. He felt bigger than that, in any case he's still a heavyweight. ...  or it was the shoes, because it gave me grips. Whereas before talk of me wearing shoes, everyone thought I was just a madman, because I was giving Dean Lister basically total license to tear my feet off and throw them into the second row. When that didn't happen now all of a sudden, how can we figure out a way, in the end, I went out there to represent catch, not to be against jiu-jitsu, but to show who I am, where I come from, what my foundations are, and to show it to the world."

As for when Barnett will return to an arena which allows striking along with grappling and submission holds, he remained noncommittal on when that might happen. Or if he's going to walk away altogether.

"If you're not as fired up for it as you need, if you're not as focused as you need to be, it's not the kind of sport you want to be involved in," Barnett said. "That can be a real issue. When it comes to fighting, you can choose one or another at that time. I don't have to go back to fighting, I can do everything else. There's no monetary necessity for me to fight, with all my other projects. But, fighting is my love. It's a passion and a necessity and I don't get to fight forever. I can still be making movies well after my fighting career is over, but you get the one opportunity to fight and then that's gone. I want to make the most of it, and I still have the desire to get back in the tine. I can't upend my whole life at the moment to do one when the other is going so well."

So for now, Barnett's keeping his hands full with, among other things, helping Shayna Baszler train for her UFC 177 bout against Bethe Correia. As for Rosholt, well, Barnett isn't going to commit to a fight, but he does sound a bit intrigued.

"People don't call out folks," said Barnett. "Unless you're Japanese, and in the Japanese culture they call out people they don't even believe they should be in the ring with, they just want the honor, the opportunity to get their nose plowed across their face by them. When it comes to the UFC western MMA, you don't call people out you don't think you can beat. So clearly, Jared's manager and all the people around him, they must have talked it into him that he somehow can defeat me in the ring.

"I appreciate the fact he respectfully asked for the fight, and If he really wants to test himself, or even if he really thinks he can beat me, no one gets anywhere in fighting by sitting around not trying to fight people. I'm here to fight folks, I'm not not here to talk about them, I'm not here to make origami cranes with them. But I am here to kick ass and take names. I don't have any problem putting Rosholt on my belt."

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