Josh Barnett signs with Bellator

Josh-Barnett
PhotoCred: MMAMania

“The Warmaster” Josh Barnett holds the record for the youngest heavyweight champion in UFC history. A label he achieved at just 24-years old. Now 41, the Seattle, Washington native isn’t done yet.

Barnett revealed today on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show that he had signed with Bellator MMA… As he did so live on the show. Because today is April 1, also known as April Fool’s Day, there was still speculation despite Helwani’s examining of Barnett’s freshly signed contract. Thus prompting a quick follow up tweet from Bellator President Scott Coker that confirmed the signings legitimacy.

After being granted his UFC release in June 2018 following his USADA test failure exoneration, it seemed like only a matter of time before Barnett would take his talents over to the Bellator cage.

In between then and now Barnett has been keeping busy by training fighters and hosting as wellĀ as competing in professional wrestling events.

The former heavyweight champion is no stranger to Coker as the two worked together from 2011 to 2013 when Barnett fought in Strikeforce. Since then, Barnett returned to the UFC and went 3-2 scoring big wins over fellow former champions in Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir. The latter also joined Bellator last year.

Barnett’s last fight came against Arlovski in the main event of UFC Hamburg which was in September 2016. Thus putting Barnett on the longest MMA hiatus of his incredible 43-fight career.

Barnett doesn’t have an opponent or promotional debut date set just yet but surely fans will have some interest in seeing the long-awaited showdown between him and Fedor Emelianenko. A fight that was supposed to take place 10 years ago.

This just now comes down to whether or not Emelianenko will continue to fight following his rough loss in the Bellator heavyweight Grand Prix finals.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/1/2019