Josh Barnett booked for 2013 title defense in Japan

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Former PRIDE, Strikeforce and UFC heavyweight Josh Barnett is returning to Pancrase in 2013 to defend his open weight title for the first time in over ten years.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight titleholder Josh Barnett is still champion somewhere.

"The Warmaster" is reportedly returning to Japan in 2013 to defend his open weight "King of Pancrase" championship belt, something he hasn't done in over 10 years, according to the folks over at Asian MMA. Barnett is expected to compete at the Pancrase 20th anniversary tour against "any opponent the promotion wants to put in front him."

Groovy.

The former PRIDE star and part-time pro wrestler won the title by defeating Yuki Kondo way back in 2003, before successful defenses against longtime Japanese mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Kazuo Takahashi and K-1 stud Semmy Schilt.

At least it's work.

Barnett (31-6) hasn't been seen since a five-round drubbing at the hands of Strikeforce Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier. With the demise of the San Jose-based promotion all but a foregone conclusion, it's time for the grappling wizard to keep himself in the fight game elsewhere.

And it's not like the UFC is calling (yet).

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