Renan “Barao” could emerge as a title contender with a victory at UFC 138. | Photo: Sherdog.com


Renan “Barao” has spent much of his career competing in relative obscurity, but a 27-fight unbeaten streak tends to get one noticed.

The 24-year-old Nova Uniao prospect will meet American Top Team’s Brad Pickett in the UFC 138 “Leben vs. Munoz” co-main event on Saturday at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England. The winner could find himself thrust into title contention in a division starved for new-blood challengers for reigning bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.

Barao made his promotional debut at UFC 130 in May, as he recorded his 16th consecutive victory and defeated former WEC champion Cole Escovedo by unanimous decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. A deft finisher, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has recorded 18 of his 26 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.

In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, Barao discusses the preparation for his all-important showdown with Pickett, training alongside UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and moving down to the 135-pound division.


Barao: My training was 100 percent. I did a lot of physical preparation, wrestling, boxing and jiu-jitsu. I’m training with the entire Nova Uniao staff and helped those who were fighting before me. They helped me, too. It was great.


Barao: I arrived here four months ago. I’m living in an apartment that Andre Pederneiras leaves for people who live outside of Rio so they can train here. I’m there with Ronys Torres, Carlos [Alexandre] “Indio” [Pereira] and some other athletes on the team. We’re all very good friends. We help each other, and that’s pretty cool.

Brad Pickett File Photo


Pickett has won 10 of 11.


Barao: Pickett is a tough, experienced guy who always fights well. I’m sure that it will be a great fight. Although this is his UFC debut, he’s experienced and has fought in major promotions like the WEC and Cage Rage. It will be a great challenge.


Barao: The UFC has an atmosphere that’s very different from what was in the WEC. I thought I had a good debut, but I could have fought better. During the fight, I found that the way to victory was the takedown, so I unleashed my game. I thought the public and UFC officials liked it, but I think I could have won it earlier without taking it to a decision.


Barao: No, I don’t think about the title. I’m very focused on Pickett because he’s a very tough opponent. When the opportunity comes to fight for the title, I’ll grab it with tooth and nail, but my focus right now is on Pickett.


Barao: Absolutely, Aldo is a great mirror for me. He’s a great warrior and gives me a lot of advice. He arrived yesterday and has already been in the gym today, talking to me about my fight and giving me some tips. He’s a great champion.


Barao: In fact, when I fought in Brazil, I had no proper diet. I came into the fight, lost the weight and got myself ready. Not anymore. Now, I outline a more professional approach and follow a diet. I’ve hit that weight in three fights, and I’ve even come in below the weight limit. I’m well-adjusted, and finding that balance is not a problem for me. It’s boring, but it’s not a problem (laughs).

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

GLORY champion Rico Verhoeven talks Anthony Johnson's 'amazing power' and competing in MMA

  • 9 days ago
  • 5 views

The GLORY heavyweight champion recently spent some time at the Blackzilians camp, helping Anthony Johnson prepare for his UFC 187 matchup against Daniel Cormier. "The Prince of Kickboxing" talked abo read news >>

Brad Pickett vs. Thomas Almeida Added to UFC 189

  • 29 days ago
  • 0 views

Undefeated Thomas Almeida (19-0) will try to extend his unbeaten streak to 20 consecutive fights when he takes on Brad Pickett (24-10) at UFC 189 on July 11. read news >>

Video Replay: UFC 187 Q&A Featuring Middleweight Contender Luke Rockhold

  • 10 days ago
  • 2 views

Top-ranked middleweight contender Luke Rockhold fielded questions from the fans prior to the UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier weigh-in on Friday. read news >>

Zach Makovsky All Business Heading into UFC 187

  • 14 days ago
  • 1 views

Zach Makovsky's primary goal throughout his mixed martial arts career has been to prove he's the best of the best in whatever weight class he chooses to compete in. While that mentality—in addition t read news >>

Ronda Rousey says Cris Cyborg is just 'roids, muscle and no technique', 'no chin at all'

  • 15 days ago
  • 9 views

Ronda Rousey questions the skills of Cris Cyborg. While Ronda Rousey has a fight coming up against huge underdog Bethe Correia at UFC 190, many feel that the only woman who can really stand up to her read news >>

UFC Fight Night 65 Post-Fight Press Conference Video Replay

  • 23 days ago
  • 1 views

The marquee winners from Saturday's UFC Fight Night 65 fight card fielded questions from the media at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Australia following the event. read news >>

Raphael Assuncao 'preparing for title fight' in case Dillashaw vs. Barao 2 falls through

  • 4 days ago
  • 0 views

What happens if T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao 2 doesn't happen this July? UFC bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao is ready to step in. Raphael Assuncao (23-4) is perhaps a bit unfortunate to be read news >>

Highlights! Watch Mark Munoz outwork Luke Barnett in farewell fight in Manila

  • 16 days ago
  • 5 views

It wasn't the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career that Mark Munoz envisioned when he transitioned from World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) back in 2009. However, "Filipino Wrecking Machine" ende read news >>

Daniel Cormier: ‘Jon Jones and I Are Tied Together Again’ (UFC 187 Video)

  • 12 days ago
  • 16 views

Light heavyweight title contender Daniel Cormier fielded questions from the media on Wednesday, saying he and Jon Jones are tied together once again. read news >>

Can Anthony Johnson Complete One of the Most Unique Career Turnarounds?

  • 12 days ago
  • 1 views

Let’s jump into the MMA time machine and travel back three short years to 2012. UFC 142 was set to occur in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Anthony Johnson was set to move up to the middleweight division and read news >>