At 33-years-old and 25 fights into his storied fighting career, Brad Pickett will finally make his debut inside the Octagon today (Sat., Nov. 5, 2011) at UFC 138: "Leben vs. Munoz" in Birmingham, England, against Renan Barao.
No different than his English counterpart Terry Etim, Pickett has been out of action for an extended time due to injury. His missing out on a fight against Miguel Torres was made even more significant when Demetrious Johnson, his replacement and a man he's defeated, went on to earn a title shot with a victory.
You have to think that puts old "One Punch" in good position, no?
He's won 10 of his last 11 fights, only falling at the hands of Scott Jorgensen in a thrilling decision back at WEC 50 that won both men "Fight of the Night" honors. Considering the dearth of contenders at 135-pounds as of right now, a victory here could very well catapult Pickett to the front of the line.
But it won't be easy.
Try this name on and see how it fits -- Renan do Nascimento Mota Pegado. Not working for you? Okay, let's just go with Renan Barao then.
Kidding aside, the Nova Uniao jiu-jitsu black belt is one of the baddest little men on the planet. Don't believe me? Look no further than his stunning rate of success throughout his young fighting career.
28 fights, 26 victories. And that's at the young age of 24-years. This man hasn't lost since his debut all the way back in April 2005. His 16 fight win streak is one of the most impressive of its kind.
Here's the thing, though. If each one of those 16 men were lined up in front of the typical fight fan, they wouldn't be able to tell you who any of them are.
Does that mean he's in for trouble today? Not necessarily but it's reason to give pause before proclaiming Barao the next big thing in the bantamweight division.
Either way, a title contender just might emerge from the rubble of this one.