The Belfast flyweight was stopped in the fourth round by WBC champ Cristofer Rosales at Windsor Park in August.
The Nicaraguan defends his belt again this Saturday in London against Charlie Edwards, a stablemate hated by Barnes, while the Irishman returns to the ring 200 miles north in Manchester.
The triple Olympian is through the ropes at the Manchester Arena in a six-round contest on the Josh Warrington v Carl Frampton IBF featherweight title undercard.
Here he faces a to-be-confirmed foe and Barnes wants to show improvements made since August and go about beginning a rebuild towards a 2019 title shot.
‘The Leprechaun’ outlined how “I’ve been working on a lot of strength since the Rosales fight. I felt that maybe he was a bit stronger than me so I’ve been working on that more than anything.”
“I’m really excited to get back in there and get back to winning ways. I want to forget about my last fight and push on to a bigger and better 2019,” he added before describing his 2019 plans.
Sunny Edwards, another fighter personally despised by Barnes, has suggested that he faces former Jamie Conlan foe Junior Granados next as he had been calling for a tough Mexican.
Barnes, who is not interested in domestic titles and withdrew from an ordered British title fight with Andrew Selby, wants tough fights on the fringes of world level before targeting another major belt before his record hits double-digits.
“I hope for maybe two more fights after this and then hopefully I’ll have another shot at a world title. Then I’ll simply take it from there…”
Barnes, who has namedropped new IBF titleholder Moruti Mthalane, admits that this weekend’s BT Sport Box Office show is perfect for him.
“It’s a massive card,” explained the 31-year-old.
“There’s a big Belfast contingent on the card with Frampton fighting for a world title and Michael Conlan also in action, so it’s very, very exciting for us.”
“I’m focused on my job and this fight on Saturday falls perfectly for me for Christmas because the last 15 years as an amateur or professional, I’ve always had January and February fights.
“This time, I won’t feel guilty about indulging over the festive period because my fight is so close before Christmas. It’s really the perfect timing for me!