After Strikeforce’s demise there was a lot of speculation regarding whether Josh Barnett would make his way to the UFC or not, but after contract talks stalled it appeared that it just wasn’t meant to be.
However, speaking to Ariel Helwani today on the MMA Hour show, Barnett indicated that it was still possible that he could make a long awaited return to the Octagon.
“I would love to fight in the UFC next,” Barnett stated, before adding, “I’ve been a top 10 fighter longer than anybody active in mixed martial arts at this time. And there’s a real good reason for that. To be in the UFC would mean to go back to where I already won the belt, to go back to where I was a champion at 24 years old, and try to cement my legacy as an MMA fighter. I don’t really feel I can create that legacy and finish on a high point unless I’m there.”
Barnett even hinted at a potential match-up with another former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, but at the same time he also indicated that he wouldn’t be willing to return unless he was offered the right contract.
“Between me and my manager, the right scenario just hasn’t presented itself just yet,” Barnett said of the offers he had received so far.
So, Barnett is keeping his options open, meaning that other promotions like Bellator are still in the running to capture his signature, but he’s essentially now made it clear that the UFC is at the head of the queue.
Hopefully a deal can finally be struck between the two parties. There’s no doubt that the UFC is the best place for Barnett as they have pretty much every notable heavyweight out there on their books.
At the same time the UFC isn’t exactly overloaded with genuine title contenders – the fact that Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva is getting to fight Cain Velasquez despite already having been soundly beaten by him just a year ago proves that – and so Barnett would be a welcome addition to help breathe new life into the division.
Despite their differences in the past, Dana White’s been surprisingly complimentary about Barnett in recent media sit-downs which leads me to think that he is still keen to get a deal done.