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Josh Barnett Wants Junior Dos Santos for Next Fight

USA Today
John HeinisSenior Analyst IJanuary 5, 2017

Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett is coming off a disappointing loss to Travis Browne at UFC 168 in December, but he wants to get right back into title contention by squaring off with fellow ex-titleholder Junior dos Santos.

Barnett's manager, Leland LaBarre, spoke about the possible high-profile heavyweight showdown on the June 18 edition of UFC Tonight, per Fox Sports

Dos Santos, who lost a rubber match to champ Cain Velasquez at UFC 166 in October, was set to return to the Octagon in May to meet surging contender Stipe Miocic

However, Miocic ended up fighting Fabio Maldonado at The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale on May 31 instead, since "Cigano" had to withdraw due to a hand injury, per ESPN

After starting his UFC career off with nine straight victories (seven finishes), Dos Santos has lost two of his past three bouts, but in fairness, both losses came at the hands of Velasquez. 

Meanwhile, "The Warmaster" has won 10 of his past 12 fights with his losses coming against Browne and Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final. 

All the way back in March 2002, Barnett improved to 13-1 when he captured the UFC heavyweight title from Randy Couture, scoring a Round 2 TKO. 

However, the title reign did not last long, as he failed a post-fight drug test for "banned substances," per MMA Fighting.

Barnett was rumored to square off with Dos Santos in his return to the UFC at UFC 164 last August but instead met Frank Mir.

He won via a somewhat controversial knockout in the first round, as Mir appeared to be conscious when he hit the ground. 

According to the UFC's official rankings, Dos Santos is the No. 2 heavyweight in the world, while Barnett cracks the list at No. 5. 

While this matchup is anything but official, would Dos Santos' crisp boxing and heavyweight hands get the job done, or would Barnett's smothering submission game be too much for the Brazilian to handle?

 

John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for eDraft.com. 

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