Former UFC heavyweight titleholder Josh Barnett recently revealed that he turned down an offer made by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but the offer is still on the table if he wants it.
UFC president Dana White told members of the media following the UFC on Fuel TV 7 pre-fight press conference on Wednesday that they’re still open to Barnett becoming part of the UFC roster of heavyweights.
“I haven’t dealt with him at all. Joe Silva (UFC matchmaker) was dealing with him. I know there’s an offer on the table for him. If he wants to take it, it’s been offered. If not, he’s always been his own guy anyway,” said White.
Barnett fought five times in the UFC Octagon, debuting at UFC 28 in November of 2000. He captured the heavyweight title at UFC 36, defeating Randy “The Natural” Couture by technical knockout. He was later stripped of the title after testing positive for a banned substance. He never returned to the UFC.
He went on to win the Pancrase Open-weight Championship in 2003 and was runner-up in the 2006 Pride Open-weight Grand Prix as well as the 2011 Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
White is fine with whatever decision Barnett ultimately makes.
“It’s up to him. He’s a big boy. He’s been around for a long time. He kind of flies by the seat of his pants I think anyways,” said White.
“Even after he won the title, I mean, imagine if Josh Barnett had stayed in the UFC his whole career, what he could have accomplished? The money he could have made, and all the things that could have happened. He’s his own guy. He wants to do his own thing. I’ve got no problem with that.”