Barnett’s return to the UFC is imminent.
Sherdog.com confirmed the development with a source close to the
deal, who relayed that Barnett and the UFC have agreed to material
terms for a multi-fight contract. MMAJunkie.com first reported Barnett’s
signing Tuesday night.
One of the heavyweight division’s most seasoned veterans, Barnett,
35, made his professional MMA debut in 1997 and rattled off nine
straight wins before joining the UFC in 2000. “The Warmaster” won
three of his first four Octagon outings and then captured the
heavyweight title from Randy
Couture in 2002, only to later see the title stripped from him
after testing positive for banned substances.
Barnett departed the UFC and went on to build a successful career
in Japan, becoming the openweight King of Pancrase before moving on
to the Pride Fighting Championships and then Sengoku. Barnett
eventually signed with Strikeforce, where he defeated Brett
Rogers and Sergei
Kharitonov to advance in the promotion’s 2011 heavyweight grand
prix. The man formerly known as “The Baby-Faced Assassin” would see
his tournament run come to a halt in the finals, however, as
Barnett was bested by the highly-regarded Daniel
Cormier in a memorable five-round confrontation last year.
Barnett most recently competed on Jan. 12 at Strikeforce’s final
event, tearing through an overmatched Nandor
Guelmino and forcing the Austrian heavyweight to submit to a
first-round arm-triangle choke. Known for his catch-wrestling
expertise, Barnett owns 20 of his 32 career wins by way of