Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao anticipated quite the return to MMA at a Premier FC event, but his opponent withdrew on short notice.

Barao was set to make his return to the cage at Premier FC 32 in Springfield, Mass. against Tyson Duckworth, but Duckworth pulled out of the fight just six hours before he was scheduled to land for the event. Barao is hoping to vie for the promotion’s featherweight title and snaps a five-fight losing streak.

Barao last competed for the UFC in 2019, losing to Douglas Silva de Andrade by a unanimous decision. He also fell to current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling to begin his recent skid in the cage.

Renan Barao Was Once Regarded As Arguably the Pound-For-Pound Best

Barao began his professional career with an astonishing 32-1 record in the octagon. His early wins came against the likes of Urijah Faber, Brad Pickett, and Michael McDonald. Barao defeated Faber for the interim bantamweight title, before successfully defending it three times during his reign.

Barao would go on to lose the belt to TJ Dillashaw at UFC 173, in a short-notice opponent swap. After many believed Barao earned an immediate rematch, he instead took a fight against Mitch Gagnon and beat him by submission. Barao would suffer another brutal KO to Dillashaw in their rematch in 2015.

This would be the beginning of a bit of a downfall for Barao. He has lost seven of his last eight bouts and hasn’t won a fight since late 2016 against Phillipe Nover at featherweight.

At 34 years old, Barao still has plenty of time to turn his career around and leave a lasting legacy in the sport. However, he’ll need to wait a bit longer to showcase what he’s worked on during his two-year hiatus from fighting.

Do you think Renan Barao can still compete with the top flyweights in the world?

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Curtis Calhoun is a Combat Sports Contributor based in Seattle, Washington. After a longtime dream of becoming a sports journalist, he was able to accomplish his goals upon graduating from Washington State University in 2016.