To say UFC president Dana White and Josh Barnett (Pictured) have had a rocky relationship over the years would be an understatement. However, as the clock winds down on Strikeforce’s heavyweight division, White appears to be softening his stance on allowing Barnett back into his Octagon.
“The way that Showtime wants to do it is when that fight finally happens, whoever wins it, they wanna do another fight on Showtime, so that guy would probably come to the UFC,” White told Ron Kruck of HDNet.”We’ll see what happens, you know? Josh and I have been playing nice with each other for a little while, since he got into the UFC. It’s more than just, ‘Does he win? Does he do this?’ You gotta be able to come to terms with the guy and be able to deal with him.
“If he wins the fight, I can’t see why he wouldn’t come here, unless we weren’t able to make a deal with him.”
Barnett owns a 31-5 professional record and became the youngest UFC champion in history at age 24 when he scored a 2ndRound TKO win over MMA legend Randy Couture. Immediately after beating “The Natural” at UFC 36 in 2002, Barnett was stripped of the title for testing positive for three anabolic drugs.
Speaking of dabbling with the juice, Barnett was once again busted for steroids at “Pride 32″ in October 2006. And of course, who can forget how he single-handedly took down Affliction Entertainment when he flunked a pre-fight drug screening just days before facing Fedor Emelianenko in late 2009?
Barnett will meet Daniel Cormier in the finals of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix on May 19th. The victor is expected to fight one more time against a “top tier” 265-pounder before the organization erases the division from their roster.
“The Warmaster” is considered by most pundits as the planet’s top heavyweight not competing in the UFC. If he were able to take Strikeforce’s HWGP and win his followup bout, the 34-year-old would unquestionably solidify that moniker.
If everything goes according to plan, Barnett will then take his talents to the Octagon and challenge himself against the world’s elite.