In a somewhat surprising move, the bantamweight title unification bout between champion Dominick Cruz (pictured) and interim champ Renan Barao will get top billing at UFC 169. Therefore, featherweight king Jose Aldo will defend his throne against Ricardo Lamas in the co-main attraction on February 1.
UFC president Dana White has long stated that regardless of who is performing on a card, if a title is on the line that night, the championship affair automatically goes last. If there are two belts up for grabs on the same card, the heavier weight class will be featured.
The UFC must be making an exception for UFC 169 because Cruz and Barao will both be bringing hardware to the cage. This marks the first time in Aldo’s last four outings that he hasn’t headlined a gig.
The last time that happened was at UFC 136, when the trilogy between then-lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard took the spotlight.
Cruz, meanwhile, will be headlining his third straight UFC event. However, “The Dominator” hasn’t been seen since beating Demetrious Johnson in October 2011 due to various injuries.
Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey hosts the festivities. The main card will air live on pay-per-view starting at 10PM ET/7PM PT.
Here is the show’s current lineup:
Alistair Overeem vs. Frank Mir
Ricardo Lamas vs. Jose Aldo (UFC featherweight champion)
Renan Barao (UFC interim bantamweight champion) vs. Dominick Cruz (UFC bantamweight champion)