Josh BarnettTop 10 heavyweight Josh Barnett will return to Pancrase next year to defend his openweight King of Pancrase title. The Warmaster, according to, had a meeting with Pancrase CEO Masakazu Sakai after Barnett’s recent professional wrestling match with Shinichi Suzukawa at Inoki Genome Federation.

The meeting seems to have been fruitful. Barnett has agreed to defend his KOP title next year during the Pancrase 20th Anniversary Tour, against any opponent Sakai wants to put in front him.  Barnett stated that he is a part of the Pancrase family and wants the legendary organization and its fighters to reach new heights of popularity.

Barnett won the openweight title way back in 2003 from Yuki Kondo. He defended it twice the same year, against Kazuo Takahashi and Semmy Schilt, before going on to represent the promotion in Pride and around the world, but a whopping 10 years have now passed since Barnett last defended the original King of Pancrase title.

The New Global standard has been adopted as a sort of motto for Pancrase since it found new owners. The amount of progress the orginaztion has made in a few months is really impressive. Luring Barnett back into the Pancrase fold is just the latest example of that.

Barnett hasn’t fought a mixed martial arts bout since May, when he lost in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix final to Daniel Cormier.

Stay tuned to and official content partner for all the latest in mixed martial arts news and updates from Asia.

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