By Adam Martin
Josh Barnett is one of the top 10 heavyweights in the world and the UFC would no doubt like to sign him to a contract.
UFC president Dana White recently revealed that Barnett, whose contract with Zuffa expired when Strikeforce folded, was in negotiations with the UFC to return to the promotion and the two parties even agreed on how much money “The Warmaster” would make. But since the two sides couldn’t agree on how to handle one particular sticking point in the contract — which was never made known to reporters, although some believe it could have to do with random drug testing — Barnett didn’t sign the deal and thus he remains a free agent.
According to White, who spoke to reporters following UFC on FUEL TV 7 in London, England, the UFC was ready to give Barnett, the former UFC heavyweight champion, a huge fight in his return to the promotion — one against another former UFC heavyweight champion, Brazilian bomber Junior dos Santos.
“Junior dos Santos,” White told reporters in a scrum when asked who Barnett’s opponent was going to be had he signed the contract. “Josh Barnett doesn’t care. Josh Barnett’s never been a guy that’s — like I said at the press conference the other day, Josh Barnett’s a fly by the seam of his pants kind of guy, he does his own thing, he beats his own drum. He said if he stayed in the UFC all the time, all he could have accomplished and this and that — but Josh Barnett’s never been the kind of guy who says ‘I won’t fight this guy or that guy.’ He’s not that type of person. He likes to fight.”
However, since Barnett chose not to sign with the UFC (at least not yet), the promotion instead went with Plan B, and that was a match up between dos Santos and former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, who has been talking smack about dos Santos seemingly forever. The two will clash in the co-main event of UFC 160, and the winner is more than likely going to earn a title shot against the winner of that evening’s headlining fight between UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Barnett (32-6) is one of the greatest heavyweights to ever compete in mixed martial arts. In his career, he holds notable victories over Randy Couture, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Hunt, Dan Severn, and Pedro Rizzo, and of his 32 victories an astounding 19 have come by way of submission and another eight by T/KO. Recently, Barnett made it to the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, but he ended up losing a decision to tournament champion Daniel Cormier. However, he bounced back from that defeat with a dominant submission win over Nandor Guelmino at the final Strikeforce event to up his value before he hit free agency.
It would be a shame if Barnett doesn’t sign with the UFC, because there’s no question he would provide much-needed depth in the organization’s heavyweight division if he did, but if he doesn’t then expect for Bellator MMA, ONE FC, and DREAM to at least talk to him. Where he ultimately winds up, though, is anyone’s guess at this point in tim
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