As if you needed another reason to tune in to UFC 168.
The year-end blockbuster received yet another dose of rocket fuel Tuesday when a report surfaced that heavyweights Josh Barnett and Travis Browne will meet at the event, set for Dec. 28.
According to a report from Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Adam Hill, longtime MMA veteran and former UFC champion Barnett will receive an elite test in Browne, who is of late turning in some of the best performances of his pro fighting career.
Barnett (33-6) returned to the UFC in August after spending more than 11 years fighting in other promotions. Barnett, 35, left the UFC in 2002 after defeating Randy Couture for the heavyweight title but subsequently tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
"The Warmaster" made good in his Octagon return, which took place at UFC 164. Barnett needed less than two minutes to score a knockout of Frank Mir, though some observers considered it an early stoppage.
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At 31, Browne (15-1-1) appears to be hitting his professional stride. "Hapa" followed up a loss to Antonio Silva last October with consecutive first-round knockouts of Gabriel Gonzaga and Alistair Overeem.
Though the Review-Journal article does not indicate what may await the winner, it is easy to assume that the victor between these two will be "in the mix" for a shot at the UFC heavyweight title, currently held by Cain Velasquez.
UFC 168 takes place Dec. 28 in Las Vegas. The main event will pit new middleweight champion Chris Weidman against dethroned pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva, who Weidman defeated in July. It was Silva's first loss in more than seven years.
Also scheduled for the card is a rematch between women's bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, Rousey's longtime rival and current coaching opponent on The Ultimate Fighter.