Finally, the once considered top contender Josh Barnett has been put back on a large platform. Following a failed drug test shortly prior to what would of been Barnett’s largest fight of his career against the former invincible Fedor Emelianenko, Affliction promotions folded; in what many believed was Barnett’s fault. Barnett’s career for the coming years proved to make the popular fighter a pariah in the sport, with Barnett unable to find a promotion willing to pay what Barnett believed he was worth.
Official Press Release from Strikeforce:
NEW YORK (Sept. 13, 2010) – Two-time champion and top world-ranked heavyweight superstar Josh “The Babyfaced Assassin” Barnett has signed a multi-fight agreement to compete for world championship Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion STRIKEFORCE.
“STRIKEFORCE is the home of the best heavyweight division in the world and I’m proud to be able to call it my home now,” said the 32-year-old Barnett (29-5), an expert in catch wrestling who hails from Seattle, Wash.
“I’m looking forward to competing amongst the greatest fighters in the world and fighting my way to another world title.”
The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Barnett became the youngest UFC champion in history at age 24 when he scored a second-round TKO (4:35) on MMA legend Randy “The Natural” Couture in Las Vegas, Nev., on March 22, 2002. In his sixth career fight, Barnett submitted wrestling and MMA legend Dan “The Beast” Severn with an armbar in the fourth round (1:21) in Hawaii. In addition to his achievements in America, Barnett has spent a good portion of his career competing in top tier promotions overseas, including the now defunct PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan where he notched memorable victories over the likes of Aleksander Emelianenko, Mark Hunt and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. On Oct. 21, 2006, Barnett took part in PRIDE’s first event on U.S. soil, submitting Pawel Nastula with a toe hold in the second round (3:04) at Las Vegas’s Thomas & Mack Center.
In 2008, Barnett competed in another Japanese promotion, Sengoku. After submitting (heel hook) Hidehiko Yoshida in Tokyo on March 5, 2008, Barnett returned to action on May 18, 2008, and earned a unanimous decision over top-ranked rival and fellow American Jeff “The Snowman” Monson.
Barnett signed an agreement to compete in Japan’s DREAM promotion earlier this year. Last March 22, he made his debut with the organization, submitting former K-1 tournament champion and devastating power puncher, “Mighty Mo” Siligia, with a kimura at 4:41 of the first round. On July 10, Barnett followed up the strong showing with a first-round TKO (punches) over Geronimo dos Santos in the main event of a fight card in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.