If he signs with the UFC, Josh Barnett believes the heavyweight division will never be the same again.
Strikeforce will host its final event in January 2013, and there is a good chance Barnett receives an offer to once again fight in the UFC.
During a phone interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Barnett could only think of one reason why the UFC would pass on offering him a contract:
I think a [UFC return] is pretty likely. I think it's a good fit for a person like me. I mean, unless you don't want me to go in there and beat all those dudes up and throw your rankings out of whack and change the perception of who the best heavyweights in the world are. Now, if you don't want that, definitely don't bring me over.
Barnett hasn't competed in the UFC since he defeated Randy Couture for the heavyweight title over a decade ago.
Since leaving the promotion, he has continued to build on a legacy that has helped turn him into one of MMA's all-time greats. Unfortunately, his accomplishments have been overshadowed by multiple failed drug tests.
In Strikeforce, Barnett proved he was still a viable heavyweight contender after dominating Sergei Kharitonov and Brett Rogers to advance to the finals of the heavyweight grand prix, where he lost a hard-fought decision to Daniel Cormier.
A UFC contract represents a shot at redemption for Barnett, who is still considered a top-10 heavyweight. If the UFC is truly seeking the best heavyweights, why wouldn't they give him an opportunity?
Barnett continues in his interview:
If you want to have the biggest and best collection of heavyweights in the world, you've got to have me there. I want to go where the opportunity is best, and I like the idea of that full roster over in the [UFC] being at my disposal to dispose of.
Will the UFC sign Barnett, and if so, what kind of impact will he have on the heavyweight division?