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Brock Lesnar fight or no, Josh Barnett is ready for his UFC return

Esther Lin photo

Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett is ready to end an Octagon hiatus that is well into its 14th month.

And if things broke the right way, there's one specific fight he wouldn't mind targeting for a comeback.

Like Barnett, there's another former UFC heavyweight champion out there who also has a pro wrestling background, a gentleman you may have heard of named Brock Lesnar. Lesnar's World Wrestling Entertainment contract is coming due sometime this spring, and speculation has run rampant that an MMA return could be on the table.

The way Barnett sees it, a matchup between the two would be a big one.

"That would be huge business," Barnett said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "It would be a great match to make happen."

Still Barnett knows that he's just one voice of many out the clamoring for what would promise to be a high-profile bout, and, some believe, an easy win over a fighter several years removed from his last fight.

"I always put my voice out there in terms of wanting that fight," Barnett set. "But then again, at this point, I think it just sounds like I'm joining the chorus of all these MMA heavyweight that have all, it's kind of same thing as CM Punk, these guys are all out there running their mouths saying they want to beat Punk or beat Lesnar, because they think it's an easy payday, because they think they see some lack of ability in their MMA game because of their not being fighters for their whole life. If they're going to get out there and get that glory, and get the notoriety and get this guy, they see it as an easy shot."

The 37-year-old Barnett, whose last fight was his UFC 168 loss to Travis Browne, doesn't see a potential fight with Lesnar as just a cash grab though. He's put on his promoter's hat and sees a fight between two guys with similar credentials.

"For me I think of it as the business side of things," he said. "Not the business side of oh, I'm going to make so much money, but the business side of two pro wrestlers, the styles, seeing the two of us go out it is because people will find interest in it and the fight will be interesting itself. Not just in ‘Hey, I'm some guy who's going to bully some other guy who's got less experience, and then I act like I'm king s--- of turd mountain.'"

Of course, there's a whole lot standing between making a fight between the two former champions, not the least of which is Lesnar deciding whether he wants to return to MMA to begin with.

Either way, with the clock ticking on an MMA career that isn't going to last forever, and after more than a year's hiatus, Barnett is ready to entertain the notion of his return. While he doesn't have a date or an opponent, he and the UFC are in the process of ironic out the details.

"I don't have anything locked in yet," Barnett said. ‘The UFC, they're planning a bazillion events every month. It's just going to have to take a bit of time until they have an opponent for me and a set date. But we are in talks and we're in constant connection. They'll let me know as soon as we can get something going.

"I think the UFC needs real interjection of some excitement in the heavyweight division, and I bring that," he continued. "Not only with word, but with action. It needs more metal, man. ... I think somebody should shake it up, and it should be me."

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