Renan Barao, the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship or the UFC interim Bantamweight champion defeated Urijah Faber last year to take the title and now, almost a year after; he is getting ready to take on Eddie Wineland for the second defense of the interim belt as he keeps waiting for the return of the lineal champion Dominick Cruz to the UFC Octagon. The match, which is scheduled for June is expected to be a breeze for the Brazilian who hasn’t tasted defeat for eight years,
But that doesn’t mean he is taking Wineland as an easy opponent and already looking ahead to a fight against Dominick Cruz in a UFC Bantamweight Championship unification match when he eventually makes his return to the ring. The two fighters recently made a press conference call to kick off UFC 161: Barao v/s Wineland and during the proceedings, both had to field questions regarding a future title unification bout against the lineal champion of the division.
And according to Barao, the fight against Eddie Wineland is the one that he is concentrating on first and foremost. He mentioned that after that, he will definitely look to getting inside the cage against Cruz if he is fit at that time but he added that not only Cruz, he will also be looking at other fights as well. But again he asserted that his entire focus is on the next fight.
Barao, who has a professional record of 30-1 in his career, defeated Michael MacDonald a couple of months back in an interim title match to notch up his fifth win in the UFC. He is still undefeated since he made his Mixed Martial Arts except one no-contest as the only blemish in his career and Dominick Cruz will have his hands full if they do fight.
Dominick Cruz is a Mixed Martial Artist from Mexico and is currently plying his trade with the premier Mixed Martial Arts promotion in the world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship or the UFC where he is the reigning UFC Bantamweight champion. Cruz is one of those fighters who are immensely fast inside the Octagon and his speedy footwork has given him an obvious edge over many fighters in his division in the UFC as well as the World Extreme Cage Fighting or the WEC.
Cruz made his first foray into the world of Mixed Martial Arts with the independent promotions such as Rage in a Cage as well as Total Combat. His performances in those independent promotions drew the attention of WEC officials and he was given a lucrative contract to sign for them. His first match in the promotion was as a Featherweight, where he faced Urijah Faber in a match for the WEC Featherweight Championship. Faber would come out on top, defeating Dominick Cruz with the help of a guillotine choke in the very first round.
He then went down to the Bantamweight division of the WEC and won his next four bouts via unanimous decision, totally dominating in the division. At WEC 47, Cruz defeated Brian Bowles via a technical knockout to win the WEC Bantamweight Championship. At WEC 53, Cruz faced Scott Jorgensen in what was the last WEC Bantamweight Championship match and would crown the first ever UFC Bantamweight champion. Cruz won the match unanimously, becoming the first ever holder of the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Dominick Cruz made his debut in the UFC as its Bantamweight champion and just like in the WEC, he would become a dominant force in the promotion as well, winning several matches on the trot to retain the title as well.
Ultimate Fighting Championship or the UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has been out of action from the sport for almost over a year as he waits for his anterior cruciate ligament injury to heal but while he remains on the shelf for the foreseeable future, Cruz has been highly impressed by the performances of the reigning interim UFC Bantamweight champion Renan Barao. Barao recently made talented Bantamweight Michael McDonald submit to an arm triangle choke just last week in front of a packed Wembley crowd in London at UFC on FUEL TV 7.
Speaking on the Beatdown show of Sherdog Radio Network, Cruz stated that he has been highly impressed by the performances of the Brazilian, adding that the interim champion has proven himself to be best fighter in the division under him. He went on to state that he has been brilliant and he has proved his brilliance with how he has managed to win his matches. Dominick Cruz expected Barao to come out trumps against McDonald. However, owing to the explosive punching power that McDonald possesses, Cruz was forced to give him an outside chance, especially in the early rounds of the match.
He stated that he was giving him a chance because he thought he could knock Barao down in the early exchanges but he had the feeling that he might stuck on the headhunt with the Brazilian. He lavished praise on the defensive techniques of Barao as well, adding that it cannot be opened up with just boxing because he has got a lot of skill and understanding of boxing as well.
And despite his loss, Dominick Cruz is hopeful that the young Michael McDonald will only improve as he fights more and more in the division, although he stated Barao is the man he will fight when he is healthy.