Renan Barao is top of the pack in the Bantamweight division of the UFC; he is unbeaten since 2005 and has the division hostage in Dominick Cruz’s absence. A lot of fans, and Dana White, may be starting to get a little impatient waiting for the BW champion’s recovery.
Cruz has been laid up for nearly two years now, surgeries to his knee have been reported as successful but no return date as of yet. Barao’s TKO win at UFC 165 surely guarantees him the first crack at Cruz, should The Dominator come back at all.
Barao spoke with MMAJunkie.com about the situation:
"Of course I what to fight Dominick," Barao said. "I'm praying he gets better so the fight can actually happen. But if he doesn't, it'll be what the UFC decides. It's not up to me. I just want to bring the belt back to Brazil. I'd like the fight to be in Brazil. It would be very special to me fighting in my home, where my fans are. If it doesn't happen, I'm ready to fight, regardless. If it can, that's a dream come true for me."
Barao’s flashy spinning kick to Wineland’s jaw was epic, and clearly had him rocked. Baron continued:
"I've always done the spinning kick in fights – I've done it before," he said. "Against Wineland, I saw the opportunity. In the first round, he was taking a few steps back. The second round, I saw the perfect opportunity. I thought I could do it – it was the right opportunity.”
"The first round, what we do is study the opponent. Apart from the kick, I thought it was a good opportunity to use my jiu-jitsu (in the second round). I'm a black belt, so I thought if I put him on the ground, that would be it. (The jiu-jitsu) was coming."
Barao is coming of age now as a fighter, he possesses an amazing ability to capitalize on the smallest mistakes made by his opponents; A true sign of a great athlete.
"The way I saw it, there was no way he was going to get back on his feet," Barao said. "He was done. It wasn't my fault – it was the referee's decision. But I don't think there was any way he was going to come back (after being knocked down)."
Lets be honest, the best Bantamweight in the world has been absent for some time now. Barao is an inredible talent, but really needs to fight Cruz before we start hyping him as a P4P great.
The situation with Cruz needs to be resolved, and has only gone on so long because he really does deserve to still be champion.