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Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao’s tenure in the company has come to an unceremonious end.
The Brazilian competitor, who turns 33 in January, was recently released by the company. MMA Junkie confirmed an initial report by Combate through a source with knowledge of the situation who wished to remain anonymous because the promotion has not made an official announcement.
After losing his MMA debut in 2005, Barao went on an incredible run of 32 consecutive victories. That included his first two fights under the Zuffa umbrella with the WEC in 2010, then his first seven in the UFC.
Barao (34-9 MMA, 9-8 UFC) won an interim UFC bantamweight belt with a unanimous decision over former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber at UFC 149 in 2012. He defended the interim championship twice before reigning champion Dominick Cruz’s lingering injuries caused him to relinquish the title, and Barao became full champion.
Barao won a rematch with Faber at UFC 169 in just 3:42 via TKO, and some were beginning to call him the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
But then came one of the most stunning declines in MMA history. Barao lost what was then considered a major upset to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 173, as Dillashaw took the belt via fifth-round TKO.
That kicked off a 2-8 stretch for Barao that was filled with one mishap after another. At UFC 177, he was schedule to rematch Dillashaw, but a weight cut gone awry forced him to pull out the day before the fight.
He bounced between bantamweight and featherweight, twice missing weight along the way, and dropped his last five fights. The most recent one was a decision at featherweight to Douglas Silva de Andrade on the early prelims of last month’s UFC Sao Paulo card.
News | MMA Junkie