Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, wasn't kidding when he stated that former Bantamweight champion, Renan Barao, would not get another immediate title shot after the Brazilian all but euthanized the lifeless UFC 177 pay-per-view (PPV) event back on Aug. 30, 2014.
Barao, of course, passed out while trying to make weight for his championship rematch against T.J. Dillashaw little more than 24 hours before showtime (read details here), pressing unheralded -- and virtually unknown -- Joe Soto into an emergency replacement role.
White and Co. were clearly soured on the fiasco then, even though Barao expressed his "disappointment," and now opted to enforce its hard line. Indeed, the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion revealed late last night that Barao would return to the Octagon against Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night 58, which takes place at Jose Correa Arena in Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Dec. 20, 2014.
And he'll do it in a co-main event slot behind the FOX Sports 1-televised main event match that evening between Lyoto Machida vs. C.B. Dollaway.
Gagnon, despite a current four-fight win streak, which includes victories over Roman Salazar, Tim Gorman, Dustin Kimura and Walel Watson, barely cracked the Top 15-ranked 135-pound fighters on the promotion's roster. Barao, meanwhile, is still viewed as the No. 1 contender ... at least according to the panel of MMA media members who help shape the list.
With the explosive re-emergence of former Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz at UFC 178 -- along with his storied beef with "Team Alpha Fail" -- it was seemingly an easy decision to book him against Dillashaw next. Nonetheless, the Gagnon co-main event booking is curious, a decision that may or may not motivate Barao to kick serious ass.
To check out the latest UFC Fight Night 58: "Machida vs. Dollaway" fight card and rumors click here.