Now-former UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao (pictured) is set to make just his first title defense as the division’s outright champ, but UFC president Dana White claims an impressive showing by the Brazilian at UFC 169 could have him sitting atop the UFC’s pound-for-pound list.
“If Barao goes out and stops [Urijah] Faber, he’s probably pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world,” White stated Wednesday in Georgia.
“Stops Faber”? What if Barao doesn’t finish off “The California Kid” and merely dominates him for five complete rounds for another unanimous decision victory like in their first meeting just 19 months ago at UFC 149? That wouldn’t be good enough to catapult him to the top of the most subjective list in MMA?
Highlight reel finishes certainly help your plight when it comes to this type of poll, so that might be what it will take for Barao to jump five spots on the P4P totem pole. UFC light heavyweight king Jon Jones is currently the top dog on this list.
Barao hasn’t lost a scrap since his professional debut in April 2005. That was 32 fights ago, which includes one no contest in the middle of his torrid run. He collected the interim title by beating Faber and has since defended the manufactured belt twice.
Dominick Cruz was stripped of the bantamweight belt when another injury forced him out of his title unification bout with Barao. The stakes are now higher for Barao as he enters the February 1 bout as the division’s downright champion for the first time.
In addition, the incentive of finishing Faber and having White promote him as MMA’s new pound-for-pound king for the rest of his reign will certainly boost his bank account.