Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett finally has a date and opponent for his final fight under the Strikeforce banner.
Barnett will square off with promotional newcomer Nandor Guelmino at Strikeforce: Champions on Jan. 12 in Oklahoma City, Okla. The event is also expected to be Strikeforce’s swan song, with most of its fighters gobbled up by the UFC.
Barnett (31-6) had been on eight-fight winning streak prior to his last bout, a losing effort in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finals to Daniel Cormier.
Barnett broke his hand in that fight and has been sidelined ever since, while Strikeforce has cancelled two events during that same timespan.
It’s unclear what Barnett’s future holds beyond the January event. He has had a rocky past with UFC officials and has been rumored to be considering returning to Japan in 2013 to fight again for Pancrase, where he was the last man to hold the promotion’s open weight championship.
Guelmino is a little known Austrian heavyweight with an 11-3-1 professional record. The fight against Barnett marks his first bout in America.
After injuries ravaged the top end of Strikeforce: Champions, the main event now features Strikeforce welterweight champion Nate Marquardt putting his belt on the line against Tarec Saffiedine.
MMAWeekly.com’s independent sources confirmed the Barnett vs. Guelmino bout, which was first reported by MMAJunkie.com.