With Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum both being hurt, UFC 196 is missing a heavyweight title headliner. Former UFC titleholder Josh Barnett got wind from the situation during a media lunch in Los Angeles on Monday where he promoted his scheduled fight against Ben Rothwell at UFC on FOX 18.
And the "Warmaster" is ready to save the show.
"If they page me 911, if they send me the number, I will absolutely take the fight," Barnett said. "If they want a heavyweight championship main event, I'm your man. I'll go in. I'll take care of business and I'll give them what they want. I'll give them what they need, which is a healthy, motivated championship fighter. That's what they'll get."
Originally, Werdum and Velasquez were set for a rematch in the main event of UFC 196 on February 6. On Sunday however, Velasquez pulled out with a back injury and was replaced by number-one contender Stipe Miocic. Werdum also pulled out with an undisclosed injury a day later. The UFC has yet to officially confirm Werdum's withdrawal.
"For whatever reason, Werdum is hurt, Cain is hurt," Barnett said, "Stipe stepped up and now Stipe doesn't have a partner to dance with. I'll dance with him. And then we'll fight."
Barnett, who already held the UFC heavyweight championship in 2002, feels that a possible bout between him and Miocic should be a five-round championship fight to live up to the fan's expectations.
"Interim title," Barnett said. "It's set up for a title match. Let's keep it going. That's what they need on Super Bowl weekend. They need a title fight. They need a heavyweight title fight. That's what we can provide. Former champ and a No. 1 contender. That's what people want to see. They want to see championship level fights. They want to see the top guys go at it. We can do it.
"I'm ready. I'm willing. I'm capable. I'll fight Stipe. I'll go five rounds for a heavyweight title right now. We're good."
(Transcription via MMA Fighting)