Its been two years since former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett has competed in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Barnett submitted Andrei Arlovski under the UFC banner in Germany, earning both Performance Of The Night and Fight Of The Night honors. Shortly after, Barnett had a falling out with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and subsequently came to terms with a release from his UFC deal.
He’s currently a free agent and ready to listen to offers for an MMA return that interests him. Away from fighting, Barnett is active in the worlds of grappling and professional wrestling. He is a commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) on AXS TV.
Barnett is also a part of Kazushi Sakuraba’s team for an upcoming four-team Quintet show. At the Quintet 3 open workouts, Barnett spoke about a possible MMA return. He said fans can expect to see him back sometime next year (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“It’s got to excite me,” said Barnett. “It has to be the right name, the right time, the right setting, it has to fit in with the rest of my schedule.
“I’m not going to lock down to one promoter. I still want to fight, you’ll see me fight sometime next year, it’s just a matter of when and where.”
Bellator MMA has made a habit of picking up former UFC stars. They have signed the likes of Rory MacDonald, Gegard Mousasi, Benson Henderson, Matt Mitrione, and many more. Perhaps Scott Coker will ink Barnett down to a deal as well.