Josh Barnett’s return to the UFC was announced just one week ago, but he already has his first bout scheduled.
Barnett will square off with former UFC champion Frank Mir at UFC 164 on Aug. 31 in Milwaukee, according to UFC officials.
It’s been more than 11 years since Barnett (32-6) 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.
Barnett lost in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix final to Daniel Cormier, but enters the fight with Mir coming off of a first-round submission victory over Nandor Guelmino at the final Strikeforce event in January.
Mir (16-7) has been one of the greatest submission artists the UFC heavyweight division has ever seen.
He is a former UFC heavyweight champion and interim heavyweight champion.
Mir went on a three-fight winning streak in 2010 and 2011, setting him up for another shot at the title, but failed to capture the belt from Junior dos Santos.
He was then charged with welcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier to the Octagon, but Cormier took Mir the distance, dominating the fight and winning the decision.
Mir entered the UFC about the time that Barnett made his exit, debuting at UFC 34 in 2001. He is now charged with welcoming the Warmaster back to the Octagon.
UFC 164 takes place on Aug. 31 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.