Josh Barnett is about to set an MMA record.
‘The Warmaster’ has agreed to defend his Openweight King of Pancrase title again - ten years after he first won it.
That easily bests Alistair Overeem’s tenure of the Strikeforce heavyweight championship. Overeem won the belt in 2007 and did not defend it until 2010. He then vacated it and moved to the UFC shortly afterwards.
According to yahoo.co.jp, Barnett recently had a meeting with Pancrase CEO Masakazu Sakai while in Japan for a gig with the pro-wrestling outfit Inoki Genome Federation.
It resulted in the agreement to defend the belt next year, during the Pancrase 20th Anniversary Tour. Barnett is quoted as saying he wants to see Pancrase “reach new heights of popularity.”
It was 2003 when Barnett first won the belt. Pancrase was a more prominent organisation then, although still less than it used to be. Barnett defending the title twice, the last being against Semmy Schilt, before moving to Pride FC.
Lately Barnett has been fighting in the Strikeforce organisation but since that show is now all but defunct - and has disbanded its heavyweight division - he is casting around for work. He has a notoriously bad relationship with the UFC and its frontman Dana White so that is unlikely to be an avenue for him.
Barnett lost a decision to Daniel Cormier in May, the final match of the Heavyweight Grand Prix. That snapped an eight-fight win streak stretching back to 2008. Like Cormier, he has one fight left on his Strikeforce contract and if he has it, it will likely be against a crossover from the UFC.
Cormier was due to fight Frank Mir next month but Mir pulled out with an injury and Strikeforce cancelled its event. So Cormier is stuck with Strikeforce until he can have the last fight of his contract and enter free agency.