renan-barao-20.jpgTORONTO – If UFC interim bantamweight champ Renan Barao is tiring of the temporary label attached to his belt, he’s not publicly complaining. For the even-keeled Brazilian, it seems whatever is meant to be will be.

“My life is always step by step,” Barao told through an interpreter. “My focus is on Eddie Wineland, and I don’t think about what’s next. I don’t care about what’s next. My focus is on Saturday.”

Barao (30-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) meets Wineland (20-8-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) in the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 165 event, which takes place at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and airs on pay-per-view. Barao’s interim belt will be on the line, and he’ll hope to successfully defend it a second time.

Oddsmakers favor him heavily to do exactly that, installing him as a 7-to-1 favorite over Wineland, a former WEC titleholder.

Wineland’s chance at victory would seem to come through his crisp striking ability, but Barao doesn’t seem overly concerned.

“He’s a tough guy, a great fighter, a great boxer – but he’s not the best striker I’ve ever fought,” Barao said. “I’ve fought very tough guys in the past, and this will just be another tough fight.”

Many fans seem to feel the same, focusing more on what happens next for Barao rather than what takes place on Saturday night. UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz has been on the shelf for nearly two years, forcing the installation of the belt Barao has now held for 14 months.

Barao backers have suggested it’s time for Cruz to give up the title so the Brazilian can enjoy full champion status, but the 26-year-old with the incredible 30-fight winning streak said he’s not concerned with the UFC’s decision.

“It’s not up to me,” Barao said. “That’s what everybody says, that I’m the champ, but it doesn’t depend on me. It depends on the UFC, so whatever the UFC does, I have to comply with. It’s my job.”

UFC President Dana White has said the he expects Cruz to be healthy enough to fight in early 2014, setting up a title unification fight with the winner of Saturday’s Barao vs. Wineland interim title bout. Inside, Barao likely yearns for that moment. After all, who wouldn’t prefer to be an officially recognized champ rather than a belt-holder of the interim variety? But on the outside, Barao is deflecting any such talk.

“I don’t really care about that,” Barao said. “My job is to train; it’s to fight. The UFC will direct what happens. It’s not up to me. I don’t care.

“For now, I feel great. I’m well-prepared, and I’m expecting to provide a great show on Saturday.”

For more on UFC 165, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Related News

Former bantamweight champion Renan Barao tells Brazilian reporter he's headed to featherweight

  • 10 days ago

File this under "saw that coming". For now it appears to be substantiated by little more than a tweet about a Brazilian news report (courtesy Bloody Elbow), however if true it would mean former UFC b read news >>

Report: Former UFC champ Barao announces move to 145 on Brazilian TV

  • 10 days ago

It sounds like Renan Barao is done with brutal weight cuts and hunting for another shot at the 135 lb strap as he apparently announced that he'll be moving up to featherweight. It looks like we may h read news >>

With Bellator champ Vitaly Minakov out of action, Vinicius Queiroz makes case for interim belt

  • 11 days ago

Vinicius Queiroz returns to action this Friday against Ewerton Teixeira at Bellator 143. Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov will fight on the same night, but 7,200 miles away from Hidalgo, read news >>

Conor McGregor Thinks Urijah Faber Should ‘Man Up’ and Fight TJ Dillashaw (Video)

  • 11 days ago

Following TJ Dillashaw's title defense against Renan Barao, Conor McGregor tries to drive a wedge between the champ and his mentor, Urijah Faber. read news >>

Conor McGregor: Coaching against me on TUF 22 resurrected Urijah Faber's UFC career (Video)

  • 18 days ago

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) paired interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor with former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 145-pound kingpin Urijah Faber, then asked them to navigate a gr read news >>

Conor McGregor: ‘Not Even Floyd Mayweather Had the Numbers I Have at 26'

  • 24 days ago

UFC interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor says not event Floyd Mayweather was producing the numbers that he does at 26-years-old. read news >>

Rockhold calls McGregor an 'anorexic leprechaun', wants to 'slap the s**t' out of him

  • 25 days ago

It sounds like UFC interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor hasn't made a fan out of middleweight title challenger Luke Rockhold. UFC 194 will feature two title fights as co-headliners - a middl read news >>

Dana White: Ronda Rousey a much bigger star than Conor McGregor -- and everyone else in UFC

  • 25 days ago

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor has gone on record to call Ronda Rousey one of the biggest stars on the ZUFFA roster, as well as in all of mixed mar read news >>

TJ Dillashaw: I'll finish Dominick Cruz faster than I did Renan Barao

  • 27 days ago

And he'll do it by using his own fighting style, not one he allegedly copied from "The Dominator." A few weeks back, Dominick Cruz unleashed verbal fire against current Ultimate Fighting Championship read news >>

T.J. Dillashaw: I'll finish Dominick Cruz faster than I did Renan Barao

  • 27 days ago

After UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw finished Renan Barao in their rematch at UFC on FOX 16, former champ Dominick Cruz went on The MMA Hour and all but called Dillashaw an imitator who is read news >>