Few fighters if any have arguably been as impressive as 24-year old Renan Barao, a 28-1 bantamweight who picked up his 28th consecutive victory last weekend by beating seasoned competitor Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143. The win was his fifth under the Zuffa banner, joining other impressive notches on his professional belt such as Cole Escovedo and Brad Pickett.
While Barao is undoubtedly the top 135-pound contender on the UFC’s roster, an upcoming season of the Ultimate Fighter has tapped divisional champion Dominick Cruz and fan-favorite contender Urijah Faber as coaches with an eventual bout between the two scheduled for later this year. While some fighters in Barao’s situation might opt to twiddle their thumbs and wait, the Brazilian appears willing to fight again before Cruz-Faber face off.
Barao recently spoke to TATAME where he said the decision would be left up to his superiors, both in terms of Dana White and Joe Silva as well as teachers at Nova Uniao.
“I’m doing my job and I leave this decision of fighting or not for the belt to Andre Pederneiras and the UFC guys,” explained Barao. “Meanwhile, I keep doing my job and I’m prepared for my next fight, no matter against whoever it is.”
Barao’s coaches also confirmed the likelihood of a non-title fight with the plan involving his eventual shot at the belt occurring at some point in the final quarter of 2012. While no specific opponent was mentioned, logical possibilities might include the winner of Miguel Torres vs. Michael McDonald (set for 4/21) or Mike Easton if interested in targeting the June show in Sao Paolo, Brazil to capitalize on his drawing power at home.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC