Not long ago, Renan Barao was widely considered to be the best bantamweight on the planet. But now, following two losses to TJ Dillashaw, there are many, including UFC boss man Dana White, who believe “The Baron” should end his run at 135…
Yes, it may seem like a long, long time ago now, but less than 18 months ago, Barao was busy making his case as a pound-for-pound contender. At the time, the Nova Uniao fighter had gone undefeated in 33 straight fights, and had taken out the likes of Urijah Faber, Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald. Most folks were waiting for the return of Dominick Cruz, in terms of a real test for Barao, rather than looking at Dillashaw. How things can change.
Well, following Barao’s second stoppage defeat to the new champ on Saturday, White was asked to weigh-in on the Brazilian’s future. Here is some of what the UFC President had to say (quote via Bloody Elbow.com):
“Yeah, it’s obviously his decision but I think it would be a good idea to go up in weight,” White said. “You know, he’s been having problems with the weight. He didn’t have problems yesterday — he made the weight easy — but he looks really drawn out and dry when he cuts weight. So he should probably move up.”
When you consider Barao’s weight cutting issues in the past, and the fact he was a step-or two-behind Dillashaw each time they fought, it’s an idea that certainly makes sense. But, since Barao’s teammate and buddy, Jose Aldo, is the reigning king at 145, will he want to make the move?
White was also asked whether perhaps the powers of Barao are in decline, and on that issue, he relayed:
“I don’t know, it’s weird because there are situations where, when a guy loses a certain fight in a certain way, he’s never the same,” he said. “It happened to Meldrick Taylor and a million other guys in boxing. And it almost looks like it happened to Renan.”
Now sure, many will say, that it’s a little bit early to say Barao’s in decline. The losses are likely more a reflection of the evolution of Dillashaw as a fighter, and the fact that Barao just can’t match the champ’s speed and athleticism. It will be interesting to see, however, if Barao makes the jump up. If he does, chances are we’ll see some big wins stem from Barao on the horizon.