Josh Barnett signs with Strikeforce

On Monday, Strikeforce confirmed that the promotion has reached a deal with former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett. Neither side has released any terms of the contract or the date for his promotional debut. has also reported that on Sept. 25 Barnett will participate in a professional wrestling event celebrating the career of Antonio Inoki. He is scheduled to perform with another UFC heavyweight champion, Tim Sylvia, in what is being billed as a “Super Dream Match.”

Barnett has not fought in the U.S. since forcing Gilbert Yvel to submit punches on Jan. 24, 2009. During the lead up to his next scheduled fight, Barnett tested positive for a banned substance. The California State Athletic commission subsequently suspended him.

The heavyweight defeated Randy Couture to become the youngest-ever UFC heavyweight champion back in 2002. After the fight, the promotion stripped him of the title and the Nevada Athletic Commission suspended him for testing positive for a variety of anabolic agents.

After failing to come to terms with the UFC on a new contract, Barnett began fighting exclusively in Japan. During his time under the Pride FC banner, Barnett scored victories over Semmy Schilt, Aleksander Emelianenko, Mark Hunt and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Since the fall of Pride, Barnett has gone 5-0 with wins over Hidehiko Yoshida, Pedro Rizzo and Geronimo dos Santos.

Currently Alistair Overeem holds the Strikeforce heavyweight title. The former world’s number-one heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko is also signed with the promotion. He recently dropped his first fight in almost ten years when Fabricio Werdum submitted him last June.

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