When the Ultimate Fighting Championship recently announced that former bantamweight champ Renan Barao was going to fight Mitch Gagnon next, more than a few people were surprised, including the latter.
Sure, Gagnon has looked impressive as of late, and has secured the #15 ranking thanks to a four fight winning streak, but even the fighter says he didn’t expect to face a top five contender next (much less the #1 contender).
Gagnon recently called for a fight with another top contender in Raphael Assuncao, who currently sits at #4. Instead, the Canadian landed Barao, and here is what Gagnon had to say about it to Sherdog.com:
“It’s crazy man. I just wanted to create a little bit of buzz and get that fight against a top-10 fighter, so I sent out a tweet referencing how [Urijah] Faber wasn’t interested in fighting Raphael Assuncao and how I would gladly take his spot,” Gagnon said. “Literally a day later, I get offered [Renan] Barao and I was just like wow, I hadn’t even been thinking about Barao because I thought he was going to be taking some time off after the bad weight cut. It wasn’t even a thought in my head, but I was on it right away. It’s been surreal ever since, I’ve been go, go, go, trying to get everything organized so I can start my camp.”
There’s no question that Gagnon will be a sizeable underdog heading into the bout, and the bantamweight conceded in the story that it will be his “toughest” fight yet. The 12-2 fighter also warned that Barao better not “take me lightly”, which is wise advice.
Since Gagnon was submitted by Bryan Caraway in 2012, the powerful bantamweight has showcased some pretty notable finishing skills. Three of his last four wins have come via tap-out.
Barao, of course, hasn’t fought since May when he was stopped by champion TJ Dillashaw. The two were rescheduled to fight in August, but Barao’s weight cut went south and the fighter had to withdraw. So, it will be interesting to see how the renowned fighter looks on December 20th.
The upcoming card, which will go down in Sao Paulo, Brazil, will also feature Lyoto Machida taking on fellow middleweight contender, CB Dollaway.