Josh Barnett Signs With DREAM, Eyes March ReturnFormer UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett will return to mixed martial arts action for DREAM in Japan. The embattled fighter, nicknamed “The Babyfaced Assassin,” has been left without a fight since testing positive for steroids for the third time last summer. was first to report on the signing.

Barnett, whose appeal to the California State Athletic Commission to reinstate his fighter licence was recently postponed for the fourth time, is reportedly eyeing a spot on the March 22nd Dream.13 card.

Barnett (24-5-0) became the youngest UFC Heavyweight Champion in history when he stopped Randy “The Natural” Couture at UFC 36 in March of 2002. However, he was subsequently stripped of the title after testing positive for steroids – which was later revealed to be his second positive test – and he opted to continue his career in Japan. Barnett later became a star in Pride Fighting Championships, where he scored wins over the likes of Aleksander Emelianenko, Mark Hunt and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira.

Following PRIDE’s closure, Barnett joined the upstart Sengoku promotion and won back-to-back fights over long-time friends Hidehiko Yoshida and Jeff “The Snowman” Monson. He later positioned himself for a long-awaited shot at top-ranked heavyweight “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko after defeating Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo and Gilbert “The Hurricane” Yvel for Affliction. However, his third positive test for steroids killed both the fight with Emelianenko and the Affliction MMA promotion as a whole.

With a return to North American competition unlikely in the near future, Barnett will set his sights back on Japan, where he also spends time competing frequently in professional wrestling. It has been reported that several fighters have been contacted as potential opponents for Barnett’s DREAM debut, but none have accepted the fight as of yet.


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