When is too soon ... too soon?
It was a very different story when the rematch between Renan Barao and Urijah Faber concluded in the main event of UFC 169: "Barao vs. Faber 2" last night (Sat., Feb. 1, 2014) inside Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Barao clocked Faber multiple times before referee Herb Dean stepped in and saved "The California Kid" from additional punishment (or stole an opportunity for him, however you want to look at it), ending the fight in the first round with strikes.
Even though some feel the referee made a mistake by calling the fight (including UFC's head honcho Dana White), with a grounded Faber turtled up to avoid the Brazilian's onslaught, you can't take anything away from Barao. He rocked and stopped a very durable fighter, making his way into elite status comfortably
To watch full Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber 2 video highlights -- and judge for yourself -- click here.
Nonetheless, in mixed martial arts (MMA), each bout can have only one winner and one loser. Earning a victory inside the world-famous Octagon is the highest of highs, while suffering a defeat in front of millions of viewers can be the lowest of lows.
There were several shining stars on UFC 169, including two dominant champions finding continuous success, and a heavyweight who emerged from having his back against the wall. With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser (and their runner ups) from the event in "The Garden State."
Here we go:
Biggest Winner -- Renan Barao
How many times have you heard that Barao is a "monster?"
That's four championship victories for "The Baron," stopping all of those opponents (with two wins now over Faber). Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey could be UFC's biggest stars at the moment -- and Jose Aldo may be the best fighter on the planet -- but Barao is making some serious noise
He is, indeed, a monster.
Three straight stoppage victories round up his astonishing 32-fight win streak, and even if there could be additional challenges in the Bantamweight division, Barao would be clearly favored to punish his opponent.
The Bantamweight division is looking a little shy of contenders at the moment; however, if Dominick Cruz can heal up fast it's the next logical match up.
If not, Barao may just wipe it clean and proceed to dance all over it.
Runner Up -- Alistair Overeem
Calling out Brock Lesnar -- a fighter who "The Demolition Man" already creamed with ease -- was perhaps the dumbest callout in promotional history.
Therefore, let's focus on what happened before that, shall we?
You knew Frank Mir was going to get the "retirement talk" treatment with a loss days ahead of this bout, although Overeem was in a far worse place. He needed a win to salvage his UFC career ... plain and simple.
Overeem brutalized Mir from the get-go, and truly did not suffer any significant damage throughout the fight. He fought way smarter, cautiously picking apart his foe when it mattered most.
That's two wins for "The Reem" over former UFC Heavyweight champions. Despite Overeem still needing to put in the work for a title shot, he's here to stay.
Biggest Loser -- Urijah Faber
Not because of the stoppage. It should be considered, yet it's one of those calls that is on both sides of the fence. Plus, are you going to get worked up because a referee had the intentions to protect a fighter?
It's redundant to say this was Faber's last championship chance because of the amount of title fights he's lost (three in the UFC alone). "The California Kid" could continue to knock every other 135-pound contender out of the park, and maybe Faber gets a fourth shot eventually.
In fact, it shouldn't' be ruled out.
But, the only reason he'd get it is because he's Faber -- a fighter good enough to never lose a fight without a title on the line. It's a harsh climb back up, though. And who knows if that shot will ever come to fruition.
It helps if he keeps embarking on serious winning streaks, though.
Runner Up -- John Lineker
Before we explain the reason Lineker is one of the biggest losers instead of other losers on the card (you know, like Jamie Varner and Frank Mir), take a second to guess why we chose the Brazilian.
You just can't come in overweight four freaking times out of six tries. Even though "Hands of Stone" trimmed the extra pound directly after the weigh in, think of what he lost.
This was his chance to defeat Ali Bagautinov and force a title shot with Demetrious Johnson even -- the company would probably have no choice but to reluctantly grant him the opportunity. But, instead, he was thoroughly dominated, killing and impressive four-fight win streak.
Without knowing exactly what the promotion will do with him, Lineker could loses his job because of his "unprofessionalism" on the scale or might find himself on the opening contest of some "Prelims" installment in the near future.
Just don't expect to hear his name injected into future Flyweight No. 1 contender conversations anytime soon.
That just about wraps it up for this edition of UFC "Winners and Losers." Who's on your short list?
For complete coverage of UFC 169: "Barao vs. Faber 2," including results, recaps, and highlights, check out our story stream here.