Renan Barao (pictured) was a whopping 8-1 odds-on favorite to pounce TJ Dillashaw and retain his bantamweight title at UFC 173. UFC president Dana White had dubbed Barao the best pound-for-pound fighter in the game based off his 32-fight winning streak, a torrid run that started nine years ago.
Well, Barao’s dominance came to a screeching halt Saturday courtesy of Dillashaw.
Dillashaw took it to the champ from the opening bell before ending things via TKO in the fifth round. Barao had never looked so mundane inside the cage before, and fans weren’t shy about letting White know about it.
“Of course, when I was looking on Twitter and everybody was like, ‘Yeah, you said he was the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world,'” White said at the post-fight press conference of fans mocking him. “That’s how the fight business is. The guy’s won 35 straight, he hasn’t lost in almost 10 years. He loses a fight and he sucks. ‘You were never as good as everybody thought you were in the first place.’
“TJ Dillashaw came out tonight and put on an unbelievable performance.”
Was it a bad night for the Brazilian? Did he underestimate Dillashaw? Is Dillashaw simply a bad matchup? Does Barao have to go back to the end of the line now?
Not necessarily, says White.
“He hasn’t lost in 35 fights, et cetera, et cetera. Yeah, that’s on the table, too,” White said of arranging an immediate sequel. “It wouldn’t be insane to give him a rematch, either.”
Saturday was just the second time Barao entered the octagon as the UFC’s outright bantamweight king. He was the interim champion for two fights before that.
Former bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz was forced to relinquish his title after another injury derailed his career.