A clash between Top 10 heavyweights Josh Barnett and Ben Rothwell has been added to the UFC on Fox 18 card on January 30th, 2016 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
The Rothwell-Barnett fight adds quality to a fight card that already features a welterweight attraction between Tarec Saffiedine and Jake Ellenberger and which will be headlined by top ranked light heavyweights Anthony Johnson and Ryan Bader.
The 34-year old Rothwell was left out in the cold after a scheduled October 24th bout against Stipe Miocic was called off after Miocic suffered an injury during training. Miocic was later re-booked to a high profile bout with streaking former UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195 on January 2nd, 2016 with the winner likely to get a title shot.
Instead of getting another opponent, Rothwell was pulled out from the Dublin event and was put on hold for a couple of weeks before this bout was announced by the UFC last week. While on hold, Rothwell was calling out former champion Junior Dos Santos, in the hopes of accelerating his rise in the ranks. However, the UFC booked the #7 ranked heavyweight against another former champion who is one rank higher than him in the Heavyweight ladder.
One Last Shot
The #6 ranked UFC heavyweight, Josh Barnett is looking for one last shot at glory. At 38, the former UFC heavyweight champion and current Metamoris Heavyweight champion is at the tail end of an illustrious career. Barnett, the former King of Pancrase Openweight champion, has fought only thrice since his return to the UFC in 2013. He beat Frank Mir by TKO at UFC 164, decisioned Roy Nelson at UFC Fight Night Japan last September and suffered a 1st round TKO loss to Travis Browne in between the two victories.
Barnett won the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 36 in 2002 by defeating Randy Couture. However, he was stripped of the title for failing a drug test. He spent the next six years fighting in Japan, making appearances for Pancrase, K-1 and Pride FC where he became one of its staple fighters. Barnett also appeared in Metamoris 4 and became the first man in 16 years to submit Dean Lister in a submission grappling contest.
This should be a crossroads fight for the 38-year old Barnett, who has been competing in the sport for nearly 20 years. On the other hand, the younger Rothwell has won three fights in a row and a victory over Barnett should also put him in a position to claim for a title shot just as the winner of Miocic-Arlovski will.