As we all know full well, the Octagon show waits for no man. With reigning UFC bantamweight king Dominick Cruz expected to be sidelined for much of 2013 recovering from his second knee operation in five months, interim 135-pound champ Renan Barao (Pictured) will be forced to defend his manufactured belt prior to Cruz’s return.
UFC president Dana White confirmed Barao will put his strap up for grabs against skyrocketing 21-year-old Michael McDonald sometime in early 2013.
White did not provide an exact date or location for the shootout.
Barao was hoping to ride the pine until Cruz returns from injury, but it appears he won’t receive the Carlos Condit treatment. The Brazilian has rattled off 29 consecutive victories en route to beating Urijah Faber for the UFC interim crown in July.
McDonald boasts an impressive 15-1 professional record. He was last seen putting Miguel Torres to sleep at UFC 145.
“Mayday” would become the youngest champion in company history if he snaps Barao’s dominant run. Reigning light heavyweight champ Jon Jones currently owns the moniker after capturing the 205-pound crown at the age of 24.
Cruz just had the torn ACL in his left knee surgically repaired again last week. ‘The Dominator” hasn’t defended his throne since posting a unanimous decision win over Demetrious Johnson in October 2011.
(Picture provided by Steven Houchin of Shotgun Images)