clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dana White won't force Renan Barao to defend his interim belt before fighting Dominick Cruz

July 11, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; UFC president Dana White addresses the media during a press conference after the UFC on Fuel TV at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
July 11, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; UFC president Dana White addresses the media during a press conference after the UFC on Fuel TV at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

There weren't a whole lot of positives that came from the weekend that comprised UFC 149, which set some records, but was largely a mediocre showing in front of the Calgary, Alberta, Canada, crowd on July 21, 2012.

One of those lights at the end of the tunnel came when Renan Barao worked over Urijah Faber in a five-round decision victory that earned him the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight interim championship.

Leading up to his fight with "The California Kid," Barao stated his desire to sit out and wait for the champion, Dominick Cruz, if he were to emerge victorious. Now that "Pegado" has taken care of his business with Faber, will the newly crowned Brazilian hold true to his original plans to kick back and put his career on hold until Cruz is ready to roll?

Check out what UFC President Dana White and Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz had to say to "Inside MMA" about the eventual championship bout after the jump:

Admittedly, UFC 149 did not go according to White's plans; in fact, he said it "sucked". He wasn't happy with a large majority of the pay-per-view (PPV) portion of the card, but he feels that fans were a little unfair in their criticism of the main event:

"As horrible as this card was, people were booing the main event. The main event was a good fight. You got two of the best in the world fighting for a world title. It was very technical, and I thought Barao looked awesome. Everybody knows how good and tough Faber is. He picked him apart."

White went on to comment on Barao's previous statements about wanting to wait for Cruz as his next opponent. In his experience as the big boss man, he knows fighters sometimes say things they don't mean:

"We'll see what happens. Guys say things before a fight. It was the biggest fight of Barao's career -- the first time as a main event, going up against former world champion Urijah Faber. The kid looked good. He looked really good. We'll see if everything's alrgight, if he's healed, then we'll go from there. You make these statements before a fight...we'll see how he feels, after."

So, does that mean Barao is going to be defending his newly acquired belt or not? Surprisingly, White makes it sound as though he may leave the decision up to Barao, himself:

"Faber lost his title shot. No doubt about it. It's absolutely, 100-percent Barao. Barao is the interim champion. If he chooses to fight and defend that title, before Cruz is ready, cool. If not? Then he's definitely fighting Cruz next."

As for Cruz, the man who most fans contend hold the "real belt," his recovery process appears to be going well. He's still in a rather large cast, but he's rehabbing as much as he can, until he is able to move on to the next phase of his recovery:

"I'm doing great, since the surgery and the rehab. I'm six weeks out of surgery, right now. I'm ahead of schedule, where I should be, in that timeframe. But, really, I won't be able to speed up the process, for another three weeks, when I get this big cast off. It limits my motion a lot. Once I get this big one off and get down to a little one, I'll really be able to pick up the pace on recovering."

As for the timeframe for his recovery, Cruz is still unsure of when exactly he'll be able to make his Octagon return, and he's leaving the decision up to the paid professionals:

"In a perfect world, I would say 'yes,' but we all know how perfect this world is. I'm gonna leave it in the doctor's hands. The doctor tells me what to in this situation. I'm not a doctor, and I don't make this stuff up. If it was up to me, I'd be fighting tomorrow, but the doctor says, 'Your knee won't be ready tomorrow, Dominick, do you're gonna wait till I say.' I say, 'Okay, Doc. I guess that's why they pay you the big bucks.'"

Whenever it does go down, Cruz is confident that he'll be able to succeed where Faber failed in being able to take down Barao and end his win streak:

"I have the answer for the way Barao fights. Definitely. I present a lot of problems to anyone in the division, because I fight differently than anyone in the division, and that's on purpose."

For now, it looks like we're not going to be getting any definite answers. However, you can rest assured that when the news breaks on the UFC Bantamweight title fight, will have all the information, down to the last detail.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania