Josh Barnett to show UFC what it’s been missing

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Josh Barnett (32-6-0), who left UFC amid a cloud of controversy just over 10 years ago, will mark his return to the organisation with a win at the start of next month.

Stripped of the UFC Heavyweight Title in 2002 after testing positive for a banned substance, the 35-year-old Californian moved to Japan where he remained a big draw on the Pride Fighting Championship circuit.

His return to the Octagon sees him take on two-time champions Frank Mir (16-7-0) but while the pair have shared the same belt, the Warmaster fails to recognise Mir’s achievements.

Barnett goes into the bout as the heavy favourite – with odds of 10/19 saying he will emerge victorious – and despite comparison’s between the two he has been dismissive of Mir’s talents in interviews leading up to the fight.

Barnett has maintained his innocence throughout his career and knows a win against Mir on September 1st could put back in contention to regain the heavyweight strap.

Mir himself needs little encouragement to put on a performance after missing out on holding the title for a third time after losing to Junior dos Santos last time out.

Both fighters are renowned for their grappling prowess – with 19 of Barnett’s 32 wins and nine of Mir’s 16 coming by submission – but it is Barnett’s superior striking power that will set him apart.

Mir has claimed just three victories by way of knockout, while tasting defeat in such a manner some six times.

By way of contrast, Barnett has knocked out eight of his opponents and been on the receiving end of such punishment just twice in his career.

Some believe that the UFC’s bigger billing will mean that Mir has been in better company in recent years, but Barnett is clearly of a different opinion and will look to prove his worth upon his return.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.