Strikeforce issued a press release Thursday announcing the release of Phil Baroni from his contract with the San Jose, Calif., based promotion.

On Thursday afternoon, a report on Sherdog.com said Baroni was likely to return to the UFC, a move he coveted since being dropped from the promotion in early 2005.

Baroni found mixed success in Pride after leaving the UFC, and signed with Strikeforce for a middleweight title opportunity against Frank Shamrock. Shamrock choked Baroni out cold in the second round of the highly anticipated fight.

Two consecutive losses later, Baroni made his debut as a welterweight, and racked up three quick victories before facing Joe Riggs at Strikeforce "Shields vs. Lawler." Baroni lost via unanimous decision.

"We wish Phil the best of luck and hope he can revive his career,'' Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. "If he can, maybe one day, he can return and fight for us."

Baroni's agent, Ken Pavia, stated that "nothing was signed" when contacted on multiple occasions to confirm a deal with the UFC.

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