Erik Paulson is one of the trailblazers of catch wrestling. Sure, as a fan you may think “what about Josh Barnett?” To which I answer – Erik Paulson trained Josh Barnett. Erik Paulson was fighting before fighting was cool, AKA the mid-90’s in Japan, and he made a name for himself overseas by combining his striking with his dominant style on the ground that combined the Western wrestling philosophies with slick submission skills. Erik Paulson is absolutely the real deal. Don’t make me link you his highlight reels.
With his pupil, Josh Barnett making his return to the UFC this August in a fight everyone has wished and hoped for since Strikeforce folded (longer for some, like me) the gods granted us Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir, and it is going down in Milwaukee in a few short months. We are lucky enough to watch it as the two legendary heavyweights are still in their relative prime. So we went to Erik’s gym to pick his brain on the subject of this highly anticipated fight.
This is not a case of who’s better and who’s worse, it’s a case of who’s in better shape and who’s on the down slope and who’s on the up slope. He’s under a lot of pressure because he has to win. Barnett is just coming in. That said, Frank is a great commentator and posterboy for the UFC, he’s a force to be reckoned with and he’s a great contender, so win or lose, he’ll be with the UFC.
They have very similar styles. I’ve been saying since the beginning that I would like to see Frank vs. Josh because of that.