Luke ‘Bigslow’ Barnatt (born 13 April 1988) is an English mixed martial artist who fought as a Middleweight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He was a member of FX’s The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen, and has also competed for BAMMA and UCMMA in England. At 6′ 6″ Barnatt is one of the tallest fighters currently competing in his weight class. Barnatt received his nickname ‘Bigslow’ from brothers John Maguire and Tommy Maguire, for his size and being slow in response to their jokes and insults. Barnatt competes in the middleweight division of the Absolute Championship Berkut.
Tony Reid spoke with ‘Bigslow’ prior to his fight against Mamed Khalidov at ACB 54 in Manchester for MMA Uncaged for the following interview…
Tony Reid: For fans that may not be familiar with your work, if you could choose one fight from your career that every MMA fan should see, which fight would you choose and why?
Luke Barnatt: Well I think the fight that depicts my style the best is the Mats Nilsson fight in London, because it’s by far my favorite performance. In front of my home town fans cheering me on I dismantled an extremely dangerous grappling machine who had been top of the domestic European rankings for a long time before his UFC debut and I never got to face him on the domestic scene. So I am proud of that fight and think it’s a good display to watch, but the best is yet to come.
Hypothetically speaking of course, if you could fight anyone in any weight class who would you choose to fight and why (Is there a fantasy matchup out there for you)?
This question gets asked a lot. The person I’d like to face is Anderson Silva. He ruled the Middleweight division for such a long time and is known as the GOAT. That reason alone makes me want to face him.
You have such a unique skill set and pose so may problems to your opponents. That being said, who in the cage or in the gym has a skill set or skill that you find difficult to deal with?
Range is the new Black, so I think it’s probably one of the most valuable attributes you can have in MMA but the one person who gives me the most trouble in the gym is my oldest training partner Jack Mason. He’s a monster in every aspect of the sport and knows me so well that it’s hard to get away with much. Now days training at Alliance Phil Davis is my kryptonite he’s my length and dimensions with an incredible wrestling pedigree. That’s hard to deal with.
If you could fight anyone outside the world of MMA, who would you choose to pick a fight with and why?
I always find this question hard to answer and a bit strange because fighting is all about taking on challenges and picking on untrained nobodies doesn’t really appeal to me, that being said I wouldn’t mind giving my brother a legal beating every now and then! You know, show him who’s boss (laughs).
I know you aren’t much for “heroes” but who are the people that inspire you most, personally and professionally? I hear you were a big fan of the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles growing up…
Haha. Heroes aren’t really a healthy way to live. I don’t like to idolize anyone because I believe we are all equal and if you believe someone is above or beneath you then you automatically hold yourself back from living up to your own potential. The only people I look up to like that are my parents, my mum and dad raised three boys and had a lot of challenges to fight through and they inspired me to become a good person and I can’t thank them enough.
You went from blue collar and white collar to bloody collar. If you weren’t a professional mixed martial artist what would you be doing for a living right now?
I’ve always seemed to land on my feet but I can’t explain what else I would be doing, I would be trying to live my dream… challenges arise and dreams change but until mine does I’ll be waking up every morning chasing the dream of becoming UFC world champion.
As a fan of the sport who are your favorite fighters to watch and why? Conversely, who are your least favorite fighters to watch?
I’m a big fan of the guys that go out there and try and outthink their opponents, who use grace and talent to lure their opponents in and finish them viciously. I’m not a fan of athletically over powering someone and swinging for the fences. Which is the usual man’s fancy. People like Myles Jury, Joe Lauzon and Alexander Gustaffsson are my cup of tea all for different reasons.
Many professional athletes have strange superstitious habits. Do you have any we should know about?
Strange? Or Stupid? Do I look like the type of guy who would have a stupid superstition? That’s just fearful behavior.
What is the most amazing thing you have seen in regards to the growth of MMA since the beginning of your career?
The Amateur World Championships was definitely a sight to behold, held in Las Vegas with all Nations being able to take part, putting their best amateurs forward and asking them to fight 4/5 times in a week. It was an incredible step forward in the growth of mixed martial arts and legitimizes the sport in a lot of ways in which the UFC can’t. You need the pinnacle and the beginning of something to make it real.
You have a very interesting (and smart) take on your fighting career as you treat it like your actual brick and mortar, physical business. Can you elaborate on that thought?
Competition is just one part of the puzzle, I try and run my career like I would a business and when the business is doing well it profits, I completely reinvest every ounce of myself and the business’ earnings into becoming better.. It’s an all or nothing strategy which has been working for me. Right now the chips are stacked against me and it’s time to prove that all the reinvestment can pay off.
You are a self-described “Twitter Maniac” who are some of your favorite follows?
Ha indeed! I live through twitter which I have started to realize is unhealthy and my family have resorted to tweeting me to get hold of me rather than calls/text. @TheRock is a fun follow always tweeting stupid videos and cool stuff. @MMARoasted can be pretty hilarious. @TommyToeHold for some animated ridiculousness. All good accounts!
What’s In Your Kitbag?
Do you have specific headgear that you use in training?
I actually can’t stand wearing headgear but when I’m forced to wear it I wear an open face style so I can breathe! I have big head so hard to find something that fits.
What kind of gloves (Boxing and or MMA) do you use regularly?
I wear blue, black and silver Legacy Bad Boy 16oz sparing gloves. For everything I do I match them up with matching shin guards.
What wraps would we find in your bag?
Stitch (Duran) has his own signature wraps out and they’re superb. I’m fully stocked with them and I never leave the house without two pairs in my bag.
Are you sponsored by any apparel companies or do you carry any shirts or street clothes with you?
I’m a Bad Boy Brands Ambassador. They have a pretty extensive lifestyle range I rock but ask anyone and you’ll never see me out of their Half Zip athletic fit long sleeve pull over. I have it in blue grey & black. I wear it everywhere.
What Fight/Gym Shorts would we find in your kitbag?
I’m a compression junkie, always wearing tights or Vale Tudo Shorts. The Sphere range from Bad Boy is pretty good but the best are the extra-long 20th year anniversary Vale Tudo Shorts in Black.
Do you carry and or use any supplements that can be found in your bag?
I’m not huge on supplements but the one thing I can’t live without is Xtend. I have it in almost every flavor. A flavored BCAA drink that rocks! I drink it every practice to hold onto my gains and give me the energy to do three sessions a day.
What miscellaneous items would we find in your bag?
A Lacrosse ball. It’s perfect to roll out any aches and pains in my whole body.