When you consider that Renan Barao and TJ Dillashaw have fought before, have been scheduled to fight a couple of times, and are booked to throw down in July, it’s not surprising to see that the bantamweights have a sizeable beef going.
Of course, Barao and Dillashaw battled for the first time last May, and the latter ended the Brazilian’s storied undefeated run by stopping him in the fifth round. That, of course, got the rivalry simmering, but after Barao had to withdraw from their rematch due to a disastrous weight cut, the two traded plenty of verbal shots. Then, they were expected to fight at UFC 186 last month, but Dillashaw was forced to withdraw due to injury.
Now the bantamweights are set to fight in the headliner of UFC on FOX 16 on July 25th, and recently Barao had this to say about the new champ, while speaking to the media (quotes via MMA Fighting.com):
“I looked in his eyes just to tell him, ‘I will kick your ass,'” Barao said. “I don’t like him, because he talks a lot of sh*t. He’s not a champion — he’s a joker.”
“T.J. Dillashaw had one defense of the title and he thinks he’s the best champion in the world.”
Barao is referring to the fact that Dillashaw ended up facing Joe Soto on late notice at UFC 177 last August, and won the bout via KO. The Nova Uniao fighter is also alluding to Dillashaw’s contention that Barao is too big, and too slow, for the 135 division. The 28 year-old, however, says he’s changed up his diet, and is fully prepared to return the bantamweight title to Brazil. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
It’s a fascinating bout on several levels; if Barao reclaims the belt, perhaps a rubber match will be in order. If he loses, however, might he consider moving to 145? Even though his buddy and teammate Jose Aldo is the reigning king of the mountain? Or will Barao attempt to regroup, and make another run at the 135 title?
UFC on FOX 16 will go down at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.