It’s been known for some time that the winner of last weekend’s Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand-Prix would have one more fight for the promotion before being moved over to the UFC, but until now there had been a question mark over what would happen to the runner-up.
Given that the Strikeforce heavyweight division has already all but been disbanded with the likes of Alistair Overeem, Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva, Fabricio Werdum and Lavar Johnson all now plying their trade in the UFC, it had been assumed that defeated finalist Josh Barnett would now join them, but that’s not the case.
According to Zuffa, Barnett will also have one more fight for the promotion. It’s an interesting decision given that there’s really nobody left on the roster to fight the new champion Daniel Cormier, let alone Barnett.
It seems a bit pointless and raises a question over whether the UFC are simply reluctant to welcome Barnett back into the organization.
There’s been bad blood between UFC president Dana White and Barnett in the past, and after a number of issues lately with other former Strikeforce fighters like Overeem and Nick Diaz failing drugs tests it’s possible they are wary of bringing ‘The Warmaster’ in given that in his last stint in the UFC over a decade ago he won the heavyweight title after defeating Randy Couture and then had it stripped from him after testing positive for steroids.
Barnett has since tested positive for steroids prior to a high-profile bout with Fedor Emelianenko which effectively sunk the Affliction promotion, so there is a genuine cause for concern her on the UFC’s part, though in fairness Barnett has now fought three times for Strikeforce in the past year without having any further problems.
Despite his past issues I hope he is given another chance by the UFC as their heavyweight roster doesn’t have an inexhaustible supply of upper tier talents and there’s certainly plenty of interesting match-ups that could be made with Barnett.