Although Mitch Gagnon recently admitted he was pretty surprised to find out he’d be fighting Renan Barao next, that doesn’t mean the bantamweight isn’t confident in his abilities to defeat the renowned fighter.
Since Gagnon is currently ranked #15 in the UFC’s bantamweight division, no one was predicting that he’d be facing the #1 positioned Barao next. That aside, the Canadian will head to Sao Paulo, Brazil to face the former champ on December 20th, having won four straight fights.
Recently the 30 year-old Gagnon spoke to MMA Fighting.com about the upcoming fight, and after repeating how surprised he was to get the bout, the bantamweight relayed:
“I don’t know which Renan Barao is gonna come out,” Gagnon said. “I’m not really thinking about what keeps him motivated. That doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is what I’m going to do, put my time in the gym and make me sharp ready for Dec. 20.”
“Yeah, I definitely think I can (submit Barao),” he said. “I will put the pressure on him and if he makes any mistake, I’ll definitely getting a submission.”
Now considering Barao is a BJJ black belt and a highly regarded grappler, some might scoff at Gagnon’s remarks. It should be noted, however, that the 12-2 fighter has scored 11 submission victories to date…
Since he was tapped out by Bryan Caraway at UFC 149 in 2012, Gagnon has gone on to defeat Walel Watson, Dustin Kimura, Tim Gorman and most recently, Roman Salazar. Three of those four wins were via tap-out.
Of course, Gagnon will be a pretty sizeable underdog heading into the fight, since he is facing one of the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters. But, you never know…Gagnon hasn’t cracked the top 15 rankings for no reason.
The fight will mark the first time Barao has fought since May, when he was taken out by current champ, TJ Dillashaw. The Brazilian was scheduled to rematch Dillashaw in August, but after he fell ill while cutting weight, Barao was pulled from the bout.
UFC FN 58 will be hosted by Sao Paulo’s Ginásio José Corrêa, and will also feature Lyoto Machida taking on fellow middleweight contender CB Dollaway.