When Josh Barnett steps into the cage to fight Frank Mir at UFC 164, over eleven years will have gone by since his last Octagon performance, when he stopped Randy Couture in March, 2002. Of course, Barnett has gone on to compete in various organizations like PRIDE, DREAM and Strikeforce since then, which is why hardcore and veteran fans are likely excited to see how he does in his latest UFC run.

Not only is Barnett one of the planet’s top heavyweights, evidenced by his 32-6 record and his #10 ranking with the UFC, but he’s also one of the best in the game in terms of his abilities on the mic. Case in point, here is some of what “The Warmaster” had to say during a recent media call to promote UFC 164, when he was asked to compare the early days of MMA to the mainstream sport it’s become (quotes thanks to MMA Fighting.com).

“I fought when there was no money from fighting really,” Barnett noted. “I fought when you couldn’t even buy MMA gear at your local sports store or whatever. We had to make it ourselves. I fought when most of the time we didn’t even wear gloves. We were under attack from all angles. There wasn’t really an audience hardly. There wasn’t much fame. The only real reason to do it was because you just had a never-ending desire to get in there and bathe in blood.”

“I think that a lot of guys fight not for the reasons that we used to fight for,” Barnett said. “There’s a lot of guys that get in here and they just want to get in, make a run, think that they’re going to be famous, make a lot of money, what have you. They fight for glory, where we fought for blood and for honor.

“There’s still great, true fighters coming out of this, but these guys aren’t quite as tough as they used to be. There’s way better athletes, they’re much better prepared, but some of these guys, they don’t have that grit.”

Bathe in blood huh? That’s not the standard comment you here from most fighters today is it? It’s also crazy to consider that although Barnett is just 35 years-old, he started fighting in 1997…

UFC 164, which will be hosted by Milwaukee’s Bradley Center, should be a fascinating night. Stay tuned to Caged Insider.com for all our UFC news and coverage.