Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett has found a new fighting home after inking a deal with Bellator MMA.
Bellator officials confirmed the signing when speaking to MMANews on Monday.
Barnett (35-8) is one of the most experienced heavyweight fighters in the sport with a career that spans more than 20 years as a professional.
He most recently competed in the UFC where he amassed a 3-2 record overall in his second stint with the company after previously serving as heavyweight champion.
Barnett’s UFC career came to an end after a long, drawn out battle with USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) over a potential violation of the company’s anti-doping policy.
Barnett sat on the shelf for over a year dealing with the adjudication process where he was ultimately exonerated of knowingly taking a banned substance but instead was handed a ‘public reprimand’ after taking a contaminated supplement.
Following that very public spat with USADA, Barnett requested and was granted his release from the UFC.
Now at 41, Barnett will return to fighting for the first time in nearly three years as he looks to resume his career as part of the Bellator MMA heavyweight roster.
Barnett joins several other past UFC heavyweights in Bellator including Matt Mitrione and current champion Ryan Bader.
There is no word yet when Barnett will make his debut, although he’s currently focused on promoting his own professional wrestling show outside of mixed martial arts.