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Dana White: Josh Barnett's UFC return 'probably going to happen'

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Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The future of Josh Barnett remains the main point of intrigue among the fighters formerly affiliated with Strikeforce.

Barnett finished his contract with his first-round victory of Nandor Guelmino on Jan. 12 in Oklahoma City and became a free agent.

Will the former heavyweight champion return to the UFC? At Wednesday's UFC 158 press conference in Montreal, UFC president Dana White appeared to not want to comment on the situation, before stating "It's probably going to happen."

The 35-year-old Barnett has always followed his own path in the mixed martial arts business. He's gone wherever the paycheck is highest, from Pride to Affliction to Strikeforce to Japanese pro wrestling.

But with Bellator stating a lack of interest in Barnett's services last week, it appears the time might be right for the Fullerton, Calif. resident to make a long-awaited UFC return. Barnett hasn't fought with the UFC since testing positive for steroids after winning the heavyweight title from Randy Couture in 2002.

Barnett and White have made it clear several times over the years that they're not best friends. When asked about the former champ Wednesday, a wry smile crossed White's face and he hesitated before responding.

"I don't know," White said. "I mean, I know what's going on but I can't tell you yet, I don't think."