Octagon Oracles: Heavyweight Veteran Chris Barnett

Chris Barnett points his finger at a camera while in a cage. After travelling the world, Chris Barnett lands in the UFC on Saturday. Photo Credit: Road FC / Youtube

It wouldn’t be surprising if you’ve already heard of Chris Barnett. Also known as “Beast Boy,” Barnett has been in the sport for years on the regional scene, fighting around the globe and creating viral moments along the way.

You might have seen Barnett in the cage, as his fight against Myung Hyun-man sits at 6 million views online. If not then, you possibly have seen the video where he gave flowers to a ring girl – an act which was viewed 15 million times on Youtube.

With over 25 pro fights and appearances in numerous countries, Barnett checks some of the boxes to describe a journeyman. However, unlike many journeymen, Barnett enters the UFC with a fairly consistent record – having won 21 of his 27 pro fights.

Stepping in on short notice, Barnett will make his UFC debut on Saturday night against Ben Rothwell. Ahead of his fight, the Octagon Oracles team looked at what Barnett’s run in the promotion could look like.

Kristen King

Grade: C+
Do you want to know the definition of fun? I’ll tell you. It’s Chris “Beast Boy” Barnett. Well, maybe that is not the literal definition, but this heavyweight is certainly one to tune in for whenever he fights because of how entertaining he is. If you do a once-over, then you may not expect a lot from Barnett, but do not let his physique fool you. Barnett is athletic. He is well-known for throwing spinning attacks, so it should not come as a surprise to you if he throws a wheel kick or a back fist. He also moves well and has the power to put his opponents away, making him one of the more intriguing additions to the 265-pound division. Quite frankly, Barnett should have been in the UFC a long time ago.

A concern I have with Barnett is his susceptibility to leave himself wide open whenever he tries to close the distance. Being one of the shorter men in a division that is chock-full of taller men with the reach advantage to match is obviously going to pose some issues for Barnett. He may valiantly fight his way in, but one good shot is all it takes to stop Barnett, who has suffered a few knockout losses in this manner. Either way, Barnett should be able to get a few wins during his UFC career.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Tom Albano

Grade: D
It’s not every day you get to make a UFC debut against a noted veteran who was at one time one of the biggest heavyweights in the sport. But that’s exactly the kind of opportunity Chris Barnett has a UFC Vegas 27 when he takes on Ben Rothwell.

Barnett’s signing to the UFC has left some in the MMA community scratching their heads. Barnett, who is 5’9” and a natural super heavyweight, has been competing in professional MMA since 2009. In his 12 years in the sport, he’s competed for a number of regional promotions, including Island Fights, Xtreme Fighting Championships, Road FC and Antonio Inoki’s Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye events, as well as RIZIN 1.

Barnett has got some great speed and agility, with a number of traditional and non-traditional kick attacks in his arsenal, as well as holding some decent power in his hands. In spite of this, however, considered his journeyman-style career and level of competition, as well as his age (even if age is proving to be just a number right now in MMA), Barnett’s upside is limited.

It feels like his signing may have been more for an entertainment and fire-fight value. To give him a matchup like Rothwell, no matter how much Rothwell may be a shadow of his former self, is insanely tough for a first octagon fight. And thinking about the skills, abilities and backgrounds of the rest of the UFC’s heavyweight divisions, it might be quite the tough road for the smaller-framed Barnett.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Zac Herbison

Grade: D-
Chris Barnett is a fun fighter who won me over almost immediately with his carefree attitude. He’s done everything from open weight fights with giants like the 327 lb Alexandru Lungu to a grappling match with Yoel Romero. He’s boxed. He’s kickboxed. We should enjoy him while we can, because he’s not going to last in the UFC. His last four opponents had a combined record of 14-10. He has zero defense, and as a 5’9″ heavyweight, that’s going to be tested almost immediately. His cardio also looks like a liability, and he hasn’t shown much of an ability to manage it.

Still, he hits hard, can change stances, and has a wide variety of strikes. He’s fought multiple people over 300 pounds, and you never know when he’ll find a knockout.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion