It appears that if Josh Barnett had signed with the UFC, his first opponent would have been former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. That comes from UFC president Dana White, who mentioned it at last night's UFC on Fuel 7 post-fight conference. After confirming that the bout was in the works, Dana made it quite clear that the potential bout had no bearing on Barnett's choice not to sign with the organization:
"Josh Barnett is a fly by the seat of his pants kind of guy, he does his own thing, beats to his own f**king drum. Josh Barnett's never been a guy to say I don't want to fight this guy or I won't fight that guy. He's not that type of person."
Barnett's manager said last week that money wasn't the issue for Barnett when it came to turning down the offer, but wouldn't elaborate on the major sticking point. I believe Dana on this though - I can't see any way that Barnett passed on the UFC because of a potential JDS fight. If anything, that would be a selling point - at least he'd know that the UFC was serious about using him in a marquee position. It's all moot now though, since Barnett passed on the deal and Dos Santos is now booked against rival Alistair Overeem at UFC 160 in May.
I really would have loved that bout though. Too bad.