Josh Barnett hasn’t set foot in the UFC octagon since UFC 168 in December, 2013, when the former heavyweight champion was stopped by a barrage of elbows just one minute into the first round of his match with Travis Browne. That was eight months ago, and for quite a while, we didn’t hear a lot from Barnett, unless it was on his recently launched podcast, or when Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva called him out — something Barnett did not take kindly to.
However, having entered BJJ exhibition Metamoris and become the first man to submit Dean Lister in over 15 years earlier this month, Barnett is once again on the radar as far as combat goes. Despite being just 1-1 since his return to the UFC, Barnett is still one of the biggest names on the heavyweight roster, and ranked fifth in the official UFC rankings currently.
That makes him a man with a target on his back; a win over Barnett, after all, gets you noticed.
Enter Jared Rosholt. Like Barnett, Rosholt has a solid wrestling base as a three-time All-American at OSU with a collegiate record of 125-27. Currently on a three fight win streak in the UFC with victories over Walt Harris, Daniel Omielanczuk, and Soa Palelei, Rosholt is looking for a step up in competition, and Barnett would be exactly that.
Rosholt hasn’t lost since entering the UFC, but he hasn’t faced anyone in the top ten thus far, and in a shallow heavyweight division, now might be the time to give him that test.
The fact that Barnett seems open to the match after months of inactivity bodes well for Rosholt, who took the respectful route in calling out the former champ on Twitter earlier this week. This is a fight that could easily headline a Fight Pass card, or serve as a co-main event on a PPV. Either way, the UFC needs to find a way to make it happen.