Josh Barnett Set For Bare-Knuckle Debut In Poland

Josh Barnett
Josh Barnett Credit: Bellator MMA

Former UFC champion Josh Barnett is making the transition to bare-knuckle boxing, facing former KSW champion Marcin Rozalski in October.

Josh Barnett’s long-awaited return may finally be here, but it won’t be in MMA. The former UFC champion has been out of action since his main-event win against Andrei Arlovski in 2016, first due to a USADA violation in December of that year. Barnett disputed that the violation was due to a tainted supplement, but he was suspended two years regardless. Barnett would eventually be vindicated in arbitration, but he still lost a lot of fighting time. Following the ordeal, he was released from the UFC and headed to Bellator.

Barnett was set for a fight with Ronny Markes, however, it would be scrapped twice due to issues on Barnett’s side. The first cancellation coming on fight day with Barnett coming down ill, then Barnett allegedly failing medical tests for the second fight. With both fights being cancelled, it seems that Barnett has turned his sights to bare-knuckle fighting.

And it appears he may finally be getting a fight. Barnett is allegedly fighting at the event “Genesis”, a bare-knuckle card set up by a founder of KSW. Barnett’s opponent is also a former fighter of KSW, as he is set to take on former KSW champion Marcin Rozalski. Rozalski has not fought in MMA since 2017, where he knocked out Brazilian Fernando Rodrigues Jr. in 16 seconds to claim the promotion’s heavyweight crown. He also has a slew of kickboxing bouts across his 16-year career.

The bout announcement caught many by surprise as Barnett just signed with Bellator last year. However, Barnett and his team were able to reach an agreement with Bellator for this cross-promotion fight. The fight will be streamed on pay-per-view on October 23. The promotion announced the pairing along with a trailer, available on the Gensis Fights Youtube Channel.