Though only 25 years old, UFC bantamweight contender Renan Barao has endured the burdens of a man twice his age. He was born to a young mother who was unable to care for him and taken in by his immediate family. Then, as a teenager, Barao moved to Rio de Janeiro to pursue his dream of making a living as a professional fighter and dealt with abject poverty where he often ate a single daily meal in hopes of saving money.
Saturday night Barao will take to the Octagon to face Urijah Faber for the organization’s bantamweight title. The bout is the main event at UFC 149, as well as testament to man’s ability to overcome adversity and shine along the way.
“It was very difficult to get where I am today. To be able to show our work today has been a work in progress for many years. I’ve been running after this for ten years now. And it was really hard. Really hard,” explained the humble Brazilian in an interview with the UFC. “At first I slept in a place on the top of a building with no doors and no windows. In the beginning we used to sleep on top of a piece of wood held up by three bricks. On the first day it rained so hard that it filled the place with water and we had no place to sleep. And that’s what I think made me stronger, to go through all those adversities.”
Beating Faber will also be a stiff challenge in itself. At 26-5, and with past wins over the likes of Brian Bowles, Dominick Cruz, and Eddie Wineland, “The California Kid” is considered to be one of MMA’s elite competitors. However, Barao knows he is no slouch himself at 30-1, and as such he will enter the match-up with a smile on his face rather than fear in his heart.
“I’m happy to fight against Urijah. He is a former WEC champion. He’s a tough guy. An excellent athlete. My goal is to fight against the best fighters so I am very happy with this fight,” he concluded on his adversary.
Check out the complete interview below and don’t forget you can catch the UFC 149 Countdown special tonight on Fuel TV at 9:00 PM EST:
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC