TORONTO – 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 MMAjunkie.com 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.”view original article >>
Carlos Condit is looking for a fight. The former UFC interim welterweight champion, who has been out of action since August 2016, dropped a message on Twitter to matchmaker Sean Shelby letting him kn read news >>
Lightweight contender Kevin Lee fights Tony Ferguson for the interim 155-pound title at UFC 216 and weighs in on Conor McGregor's lightweight legacy. read news >>
Watch Fabricio Werdum defeat Mark Hunt for the UFC heavyweight interim title at UFC 180. read news >>
Based on a new event poster and the UFC.com bout listing, longtime UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson’s attempt at one of MMA’s most prestigious records will be relegated to co-main-event stat read news >>
At Saturday’s UFC 216 event, an interim UFC lightweight champion will be crowned. But is that person the one that deserves to challenge for the undisputed belt?Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, Ne read news >>
Kevin Lee rarely has nothing to say. But today was a different story.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>
Although Tony Ferguson acknowledges that the interim UFC lightweight championship is important, it's not of the ultimate importance to him. read news >>
After weighing in at 156 pounds on Friday for his interim UFC lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson, Kevin Lee will have one hour to make the championship weight of 155 pounds, per Nevada read news >>
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will crown an interim lightweight champion on Saturday when Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee meet in the UFC 216 main event. read news >>
Tony Ferguson has the chance to make half-a-million dollars with a win in the UFC 216 main event.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>