If you watched UFC 36 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on March 22, 2002, you saw Josh Barnett defeat Randy Couture for the UFC heavyweight title. You also saw an impressive youngster name Frank Mir make short work of old-school veteran Pete Williams on the undercard with a shoulder lock.
You may have concluded that night that Barnett and Mir were destined to collide. And you were correct. It just took 11 years to make the fight.
The UFC announced via Twitter on Wednesday that former champions Barnett and Mir will square off at UFC 164 at Milwaukee's Bradley Center on Aug. 31. The bout marks Barnett's first fight in the company since the victory over Couture.
Barnett (32-6) has spent a well-documented decade as a well-paid MMA mercenary, competing everywhere from PRIDE to Dream to Affliction to Strikeforce. Since the end of 2006, he's 9-1, with his only loss a unanimous decision against Daniel Cormier last May in the Strikeforce Grand Prix tournament final.
Mir (16-7), of course, is both the former champion and interim champion, though he's equally famous for snapping the arms of Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. His losses to Cormier and Junior dos Santos in his past two bouts mark the first time he's lost consecutive fights in his career.