Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett‘s first octagon appearance in more than 11 years will take place at UFC 164, where he meets Frank Mir (16-7 MMA, 14-7 UFC).
UFC officials today announced the booking.
UFC 164 takes place Aug. 31 at Bradley Center in Milwaukee. The main card will air on pay-per-view.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported, Barnett (32-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) recently re-signed with the UFC after a decade-long stint fighting in various international promotions.
Barnett has fought professionally since 1997 and made his UFC debut in 2000 with a TKO victory over Gan McGee at UFC 28. He suffered a knockout loss to Pedro Rizzo in his next appearance before rattling off victories over Semmy Schilt, Bobby Hoffman and UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. The win over Couture scored Barnett the UFC’s heavyweight title, though he was later stripped of the belt in 2002 after failing a post-fight drug test.
Barnett spent much of the next six years fighting in Japan, where in 2006 he made it to the finals of that year’s PRIDE open weight grand prix before losing to Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic.
In 2008, Barnett returned to the U.S., where he earned victories over Gilbert Yvel and Rizzo under the Affliction banner before the promotion folded up shop. He later signed with Strikeforce, where he advanced to the promotion’s heavyweight grand prix final before falling short to Daniel Cormier. Barnett bounced back with a January win over Nandor Guelmino in Strikeforce’s final event.
Meanwhile, former UFC champ Mir enters the bout while looking to break a two-fight losing streak after dropping a decision to Cormier in April and suffering a TKO loss to Junior dos Santos in 2012. It’s been a difficult stretch for Mir, who also was forced to pull out of a planned Strikeforce appearance after suffering a training injury.
Mir’s most recent win came in a December 2011 victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. After breaking the MMA legend’s arm in the fight, Mir was awarded the evening’s “Submission of the Night” bonus and was ultimately awarded the “Submission of the Year” award at the 2012 Fighters Only World MMA Awards.
For more on UFC 164, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Josh Barnett)