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UFC Fight Night 93: Andrei Arlovski talks about Josh Barnett, facing Fedor, more

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552   //    03 Sep 2016, 10:07 IST
Andrei opens up about his upcoming fight, and his interest in facing Fedor again

Not too long ago, the UFC Heavyweight division saw the resurgence of former champion and one of the greatest fighters in the heavyweight division, Andrei Arlovski. While everyone wrote Arlovski off, “Pitbull” managed to turn quite a few heads by piling up victories against the likes of “Big foot” Silva, Travis Browne and former champion, Frank Mir.

Many believed that after his victory over Mir, Andrei needed just one more victory to secure the number one contender’s spot. However, Arlovski lost his fight to Miocic – who went on to beat Werdum to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion, and later fought and lost to the current number one contender, Overeem.

Arlovski finds himself in familiar territory once again, as he gets ready to take on yet another former champion, and arguably the best grappler in the division, Josh Barnett. But before we get to the fight night, I caught up with Andrei to talk about his upcoming fight, and where he sees himself going from here.

It is difficult for any fighter to get back on his feet after a loss, more so for Arlovski, who was just fingertips away from getting a title shot. “The only way to fix that problem is to come back to the Octagon and fight again”, Andrei said while talking about how difficult it is to get back inside the Octagon after a loss. “I know what I did wrong and I hopefully did my homework and am ready to take on Josh Barnett.”

During his previous fight with Overeem, a lot of attention was given to Andrei’s training camp, considering Arlovski and Overeem train out of the same gym. Talking about Barnett, and his training camp going into this fight, Andrei added, “No doubt that he is very tough. I took my camp very seriously. I had about ten weeks of camp and trained lots of wrestling and boxing, so I think I’m ready.”

Not thinking about a title fight right now

One of the most disheartening things for a fighter – especially for a veteran is to get close to a title shot, but falling short. Miocic and Overeem – the last two opponents that beat Andrei will be facing off at UFC 203 with the UFC Heavyweight title up for grabs. Andrei for one isn’t thinking beyond his fight with Barnett and is focusing on the former champion.

“First of all, I have to beat Barnett, he is not a joke; he is very tough. We were supposed to fight back in 2010 I believe, which didn’t happen so hopefully it will be worth the wait on September 3rd.”

An interesting fact about the heavyweight division is that no champion in the past few years has been able to hold onto the title past their first defense, with Cain Velasquez defending his title twice before losing to Werdum.

When asked about this phenomenon, Andrei attributed it to the stiff competition in the division. “Because everyone is tough in the heavyweight division. But I am focused on my upcoming match with Barnett, all my thoughts are there”, Andrei added.

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One of Andrei’s prolific fights was against arguably the greatest heavyweight in the history of the sport, Fedor Emelianenko. Both the fighters collided in 2009 for the WAMMA Heavyweight Championship – a fight that Andrei lost. With Fedor coming out of retirement, the fight fans once again want to see “The Last Emperor” fighting in the UFC.

When asked about his interest in fighting Fedor again, Andrei sounded a little subdued, saying that while he would want to fight Fedor, he wasn’t impressed with his previous fight against Maldonado.

“Of course, but how he fought last time with his opponent being robbed like that, it wasn’t good.”

Catch UFC Fight Night - Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett at 12:30 AM on 4 September 2016 on SONY ESPN and SONY ESPN HD.

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