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 renan barao to featherweight

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PostSubject: renan barao to featherweight   Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:15 pm

One of the most successful bantamweight fighters of all-time is leaving the division that once helped earn the distinction of UFC President Dana White’s top pound-for-pound fighter.

Former UFC 135-pound champ Renan Barao (33-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) has opted to switch weight classes and will move up to featherweight with hopes of a fresh start.

Barao revealed his intentions to join the 145-pound division, where Nova Uniao teammate Jose Aldo holds the title, in a recent interview with Brazilian news outlet Globo. He said he would like to debut at the weight class before the end of the year.

Although Barao is a former UFC champ who held the bantamweight title for nearly two years, the fact he’s suffered two losses to current titleholder T.J. Dillashaw puts him in a difficult position.

Barao and Dillashaw’s rivalry began at UFC 173 in May 2014. Barao hadn’t lost in nearly 10 years prior to the contest, but Dillashaw put an end to his undefeated streak when he shocked the Brazilian with a lengthy beatdown that concluded with a fifth-round TKO to win the belt.

The pair was meant to rematch at UFC 177 in August 2014, but the bout was scratched at the 11th hour when Barao was forced out of the fight after he fainted and hit his head while cutting weight.

Despite discussions about moving up in weight, Barao was adamant he should stay put at bantamweight because he had hopes of regaining the title in a rematch with Dillashaw.

After a number of issues and injuries postponed the rematch, Barao and Dillashaw finally met for a second time at UFC on FOX 16 in July. It was another one-sided affair, with Dillashaw’s diverse striking, conditioning, pace and pressure being too much for Barao en route to a fourth-round TKO.

When at the top of his game, few are more dangerous than Barao. He has vicious and accurate striking, nearly impenetrable takedown defense and a slick submission game. He showed none of that against Dillashaw, though, and much of that looked to be a product of a difficult weight cut.

UFC boss White noticed as much and encouraged Barao to reevaluate his position after his second defeat to Dillashaw.

“It’s obviously his decision, but I think it would be a good idea to go up in weight,” White said after UFC on FOX 16. “He’s been having problems with the weight. He didn’t have problems (at weigh-ins) – he made the weight easy – but he looks really drawn out and dry when he cuts weight. So he should probably move up.”

Barao apparently took White’s comments seriously, and a significant career change is forthcoming.

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» UFC 173: Barao vs. Dillashaw and Hendo vs. Cormier
» UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber
» WBU Featherweight World Championship

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