UFC Interim Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao has been riding a huge wave of momentum ever since he beat Urijah Faber for the gold back at UFC 149. He defended the belt once with an impressive submission of Michael McDonald at UFC on FUEL TV 7.
The talented, well-rounded Brazilian is riding an insane 31-fight unbeaten streak, and he’ll look to further that when he steps into the cage against Eddie Wineland in the co-main event of UFC 165 next Saturday from Toronto.
The UFC Bantamweight title picture is quite muddled at the time, with longtime champ Dominick Cruz still on the mend from two devastating ACL surgeries. Cruz hasn’t fought since October 2011, but he’s aiming to make an early 2014 return. If he cannot, Dana White has stated that decisions will have to be made regarding the belt.
But those are circumstances beyond Barao’s control. He recently appeared in a UFC video that chronicled his training for the bout against Wineland. It appears that Barao is training hard, seeking to become the best total mixed martial artist he can be. And that’s a scary proposition for the rest of the 135 lb. fighters. Barao believes that hard work will ultimately prevail, and he’s putting in no shortage of just that.
He’s also a cerebral fighter, noting that he knows Wineland prefers to stand and trade rather than fight on the ground. Barao thinks this will be his area of advantage, and it very well may be, as the talented Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt trains at Nova Uniao with UFC Featherweight champ Jose Aldo. At the end of the day, Barao has the talent and skills to be one of the best fighters on the UFC roster. He can’t sleep on Wineland, but he knows that. When Cruz finally does return, it may be too quite a rude awakening, because Barao is no easy task on a three-month layoff, let alone a two-year hiatus.