Update by Tim Burke: Barnett tweeted a few times in reference to the below story, and said he hasn't signed with the UFC:
But seriously, beyond my profile being up on UFC.com I am not signed to the UFC. Sorry you guys all got your hopes up.— Josh Barnett (@JoshLBarnett) January 17, 2013
When Strikeforce ended the big question mark was whether or not former UFC Heavyweight champ Josh Barnett, and his $250,000 per fight asking price, would be making the jump back to the UFC. Barnett has had a checkered history with the promotion, having left under a cloud of failed drug tests and an unrepentant attitude that rubbed management the wrong way.
When Barnett spoke to Pat Miletich following his win over Nandor Guelmino at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, he said "I have no master." He repeated similar mercenary sentiments with his post-event interview with Ariel Helwani which you can see below.
Now it appears that Barnett has come to terms with the UFC because they'ved added a Josh Barnett fighter profile to the UFC.com site.
This is an exciting development as the 36-year-old Barnett should have a few good years left in the sport and even though it's highly unlikely he'll grab the title again, he should be a formidable gate keeper in the Heavyweight division.
Please note that this could be an example of Zuffa's tech department getting ahead of themselves and is not comparable to an official announcement that Barnett has indeed been signed by the organization.
Bloody Elbow's Steph Daniels spoke to Barnett about his future yesterday:
Stephie Daniels: Speaking of money and interest, many people want to see you in the UFC. Are you any closer to putting the ink to the paper on that deal?
Josh Barnett: No idea.
Stephie Daniels: Are you being courted by other organizations? One would imagine that several of these promoters are positively salivating at the prospect of signing you to their brand.
Josh Barnett: Well, I haven't had to wash off any saliva from my pants yet [laughs]. I wouldn't be surprised if my manager is hotly debating with many folks.
Stephie Daniels: Are there any sticking points that you've laid out for your manager for contract negotiations, or do you pretty much leave it in his hands?
Josh Barnett: There is some discourse about what is acceptable and what isn't, but I do feel like my manager and I are on the same page.