Photo of Renan Barao by Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
In a little under three days, (July 21, 2012), Urijah Faber will look to solidify his status as one of the top mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in the world as he attempts to capture his first ever Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world title against Brazilian wrecking machine Renan Barao in the main event at UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Originally booked to face UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz, the conclusion to their rivalry was put on ice after "The Dominator" came down with an injury. Though Faber would love nothing more than to put their feud to rest, he has no problems with Barao being a replacement.
In fact, according to "The California Kid," his upcoming interim title fight is a much more dangerous fight for the simple fact that Renan finishes fights and Cruz has failed to accomplish such a feat in quite awhile.
Finishes or not, Cruz has won 10 straight bouts and 19 out of 20 overall in his MMA career with his lone loss coming to ... you guessed it, Urijah Faber, five years ago at WEC 26. Though an eventual third bout between the two is all but a certainty down the road, Faber has his hands full with Renan this weekend.
Make the jump to see what Faber told Pro MMA Radio about his upcoming title fight in Canada:
"He's definitely more dangerous (than Cruz). He's got submissions, he's got knockouts and he puts people in dangerous situations and that is one thing that Dominick may have the ability to do but hasn't shown in his past fights. It's not like an easier fight, but it's a different fight and there is defiantly more danger involved. He's got good boxing and good wrestling and I got good boxing and good wrestling. He's got solid submissions, I have incredible conditioning and I am more creative than the guys he has faced. When it gets to the later rounds I think I am going to have an advantage and the one thing that I have to watch out for are his knees, his spin kicks and leg attacks when it comes to kicks. I'll be aware of that and be ready for a battle."
Though Faber has declared he isn't intimidated by Barao's impressive and "scary" record, he does acknowledge that winning 28 fights in a row is no easy task and can appreciate the strong mentality that Barao possesses aside from his all around skill set:
"The guy being able to win that much in a row just means that he is mentally strong and well-rounded. He finds a way to beat guys. For me, I am a guy who is extremely well-rounded, I have been in big fights and I have great conditioning and my skill-set is well-rounded. It's a different fighter that he's faced before and it sounds like he was better than all of the other guys he beat but I don't think he is better than me, so, that will be the difference."
Should he win, Faber and Cruz will collide down the line to unify the titles and hopefully put their long-lasting hatred towards one another to bed.
That, however, is no guarantee as Barao is looking to stake his own claim in the 135-pound class and prove his incredible record and current win streak is justified. A win over Faber will make Barao a household name and in turn set him up for a title unifaction bout with "The Dominator," even if he has to wait for it.
What say you, can Renan continue his impressive run and have his coming out party against one of the best 135-pound fighters in the world? He is the betting favorite, but are the odds in his favor according to you?