by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Since Zuffa’s official purchase of Pride, many fighters have started popping up from the former Japanese powerhouse organization in new homes. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is in the UFC along with former Grand Prix winner Mauricio “Shogun” Rua who is expected to make his debut shortly. Paulo Filho will soon take his shot in the WEC and now one of the most sought after heavyweights in the world, Josh Barnett, is officially a free agent according to his blog on MySpace.
Let the bidding begin.
Barnett, who is the #4 heavyweight in the MMAWeekly World MMA Rankings, has recently been spotted at a couple of Bodog’s promotions, which has prompted many fans to assume that’s where they will next see the former UFC champion, but Barnett says not so fast.
In a message from his MySpace blog, Barnett commented, “Many have seen me on Bodog and may think I am automatically headed to or signed with them. While I have a good relationship with the promoters and have two fighters fighting next season, I have not signed any deals with Bodog.”
With Bodog seemingly in the running to secure Barnett’s services, fans then turn to ask about his former employer, the UFC.
Barnett said, “Truthfully, I have spoken with Dana and Lorenzo recently and the UFC is well aware that I have no beef with them. There are no personal issues keeping me from signing with the UFC. I just have not received any offers from them yet.”
Time will only tell where the current #4 ranked heavyweight will sign with an organization, but Barnett makes it clear that he will have an instant impact.
“I am looking to get back in the game and I want to be with a promotion that treats me as a valuable part of the organization. I hope I can find that kind of place this time around, not just for my sake, but also for all of my fans worldwide as well. Now… who’s ready to see somebody get buried into the canvas?” said Barnett.
Along with Fedor Emelianenko, Barnett has to be considered the prize of the heavyweight class not currently fighting in a promotion and hopefully now that he is officially free of his entanglements with Pride, we will see the “Baby Faced Assassin” sooner rather than later.