Phil De Fries seeks a new challenge.
KSW’s dominant heavyweight champion is set to face MMA veteran Josh Barnett in a submission grappling match in Gliwice, Poland, on Feb. 24, the promotion announced Friday.
De Fries has run roughshod over KSW’s heavyweight division, recording nine straight successful title defenses and riding a winning streak that dates back to 2017. With few viable opponents remaining for him at the moment, he now targets a grappling win over Barnett.
“The Warmaster,” who won the UFC heavyweight title 22 years ago, has not competed in MMA since 2016. Barnett has instead competed in other combat sports disciplines, including a first-round finish of Shoma Shibisai in a mixed-rules bout in December 2022, and a loss to grappling ace Gordon Ryan at a QUINTET event.
In 43 pro MMA bouts, Barnett has recorded 19 submissions, while De Fries has won via submission in 14 of his 30 fights.
The KSW Epic event takes place on Feb. 24 and will be available via online pay-per-view.