In Hamburg, Germany, this September at UFC Fight Night 93, two former UFC heavyweight champions will square off for the first time when Andrei Arlovski meets Josh Barnett. With dozens of fights between them for multiple major MMA promotions, and both having fought in the UFC across multiple stints, it’s shocking the two have never faced off before, but here we are in 2016 with The Pitbull meeting The Warmaster for the very first time.

It’s an exciting, fan friendly fight. It’s exactly the sort of fight that needs to headline Fight Pass/Fight Night events. Two big names, two living legends, going toe-to-toe. Both men like to bring the violence, neither men are known for backing down, and you can expect fireworks. Chances are, you will be entertained.

If there’s a downside — and it’s not much of one — it’s that this may very well be the last shot at glory for these two gladiators. At this point in their respective careers, a title shot for either man is a long shot, if not entirely out of the question. Arlovski came close, but a loss to Stipe Miocic set him back, and paved the way for Miocic’s recent upset victory over Fabricio Werdum in Brazil. With Miocic instilled as UFC heavyweight champ and fighting the next man to defeat the Pitbull, Alistair Overeem, Arlovski is now far removed from the title picture, though still heavy on name value.

Barnett is in similar circumstances. He has sandwiched a win over Roy Nelson between losses to Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell. Again, he’s heavy on name value and is popular with fans, just like Arlovski. It would be insanity for the UFC not to cash in on that and book him in big fights. Yet even with a win over Arlovski, he’s nowhere near the title picture.

What’s at stake here is hope. Hope that one of these men can claw their way back to the title picture. Hope that they can extend their career just a little longer, hope that they can make one last run.

What’s heartbreaking, for fans, is that one of them has to lose, and whoever it is, it may be one of the last times we see them in the cage. In an era where more and more of the legends of yesteryear are hanging up their spurs, that’s a bit of a sombre note — but on the bright side, with each having such a storied career, maybe it should be more of a celebration, for a job — and a career 7 — well done.

In any case, this is a deceptively crucial fight in the careers of both men. Despite no title, or title shot, on the line, it may turn out to be one of the biggest fights of their careers.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.