Renan “Barao” could emerge as a title contender with a victory
at UFC 138. | Photo: Sherdog.com
has spent much of his career competing in
relative obscurity, but a 27-fight unbeaten streak tends to get one
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
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
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
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.
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.
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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