Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett Returns to the Octagon


Josh BarnettFormer UFC heavyweight titleholder Josh Barnett has come to terms with the Ultimate Fighting Championship to return to the organization.

USA Today first reported the signing.

It’s been more than 11 years since Barnett last competed inside the UFC’s famed Octagon.  He fought five times in the promotion, amassing a 4-1 record, including capturing the heavyweight title at UFC 36 by defeating now UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture.

The Seattle native was stripped of the title after failing a post-fight drug test for banned substances. He then embarked on an international career that included winning the Pancrase Openweight Championship. Barnett advanced to the finals of the 2006 Pride Openweight Tournament and the 2011 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

The 35-year-old also competed in Dream and the now defunct Affliction organization.

Prior to a scheduled bout with heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko in August of 2009, Barnett tested positive for a banned substance a second time.  The fight was pulled and resulted in the cancellation of the fight card.  Affliction never hosted another event.

Barnett last fought on Jan. 12 in the final Strikeforce event, defeating Nandor Guelmino by submission in the first round.

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