After much speculation, Strikeforce announced on Monday they have finally inked heavyweight Josh “The Babyfaced Assassin” Barnett to a multi-fight contract.
“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. “I’m looking forward to competing amongst the greatest fighters in the world and fighting my way to another world title.”
Barnett owns a 29-5 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 set to face Fedor Emelianenko in late 2009. However, a pre-fight drug screening administered by the California State Athletic Commission allegedly came back positive for performance-enhancing drug. Affliction was forced to cancel the highly anticipated event just days before showtime, and permanently closed the doors on their MMA promotional efforts shortly after.
In addition to his vast – yet controversial – achievements in America, Barnett has spent a good portion of his career competing in top tier promotions overseas, including the now defunct PrideFC in Japan where he notched memorable victories over the likes of Aleksander Emelianenko, Mark Hunt and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Barnett signed an agreement to compete in Japan’s Dream promotion earlier this year. Last March, he made his debut with the organization by submitting former K-1 tournament champion “Mighty Mo” Siligia with a 1stRound kimura.
The heavyweight was most recently seen in July posting a win over Geronimo dos Santos at “Impact FC 1 – The Uprising: Brisbane”
No word on when Barnett will break-in his new Strikeforce deal.