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Dana White encourages Renan Barao to move to featherweight following UFC on FOX 16 beating

Should he stay, or should he go now ...

Photo by Esther Lin for

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight titleholder T.J. Dillashaw retained his belt with a destructive fourth-round technical knockout victory over Renan Barao at UFC on FOX 16 last night (Sat., July 25, 2015) in "Windy City" (fallout here).

Dillashaw trounced Barao every which way the fight went (highlights here), even though "The Baron" displayed a more aggressive attack than he previously did when he lost the championship at UFC 173 back in May 2014.

"I had some questions about Renan Barao coming into this fight. I didn't think he looked great in his last fight, but he looked great tonight," remarked UFC President Dana White at the post-fight presser.

The pride of Team Alpha Male picked apart the Brazilian apart on the feet for the majority of four rounds (fight recap here), utilizing his trademark movement and jabs. There were not many instances, if any, at all where "Killashaw" was actually threatened.

Barao was only able to land one takedown and a little over a handful of clean punches and leg kicks. Aside from the knockdown in the first frame of their original fight, Dillashaw's performance in the second title go-around was even better and one could tell through the confidence he displayed on his way down to the cage.

The 29-year-old Dillashaw now closes the book on the Nova Uniao product and will move on to potentially challenge old rival Raphael Assuncao or the recovering former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.

However, both are on the shelf.

Dillashaw lost a split-decision to Assuncao in Oct. 2013, but the latter is nursing an ankle injury. Cruz, meanwhile, expects a "realistic" return to action later this year.

The 28-year-old Barao now must get back on his horse and either stick around to contend for the sake of remaining a gatekeeper or test the waters at Featherweight and try to make a run at the title, which his fellow teammate pound-for-pound best Jose Aldo possesses at the moment.

"It's obviously his decision, but I think it would be a good idea to go up in weight," White would argue. "He's been having problems with the weight. He didn't have problems yesterday -- he made the weight easy. He looks really drawn out and dry when he cuts weight. He should probably move up."

Barao's weight-cutting woes are well-documented. His planned immediate rematch with Dillashaw for UFC 177 was scrapped back in Aug. 2014.

Then, when he returned against the Canadian grappler Mitch Gagnon at UFC Fight Night 58 in Dec. 2014, Barao won, all the while eating punches and appearing sluggish. It was not the typical one-sided offensive combat sports fans had grown accustom to seeing from Barao.

Fights, particularly ones that end 30-fight unbeaten streaks, can take their toll on the mentality of a fighter going forward.

"I don't know. It's weird. There's situations where when a guy loses a fight a certain way, he's never the same," said White. "It happen to Meldrick Taylor and a million other guys in boxing. It almost looks like that happened to Renan."

The problem for Barao is now whether to stay at Bantamweight or venture up to 145 pounds and possibly run into his teammate. Remaining a stepping stone does not sound like an appealing option (at least in my humble opinion).

Moving up in weight may lead to a more focused and rejuvenated Barao, as has been the case with fighters like Dustin Poirier, who have ventured up a division after starving themselves in their previous home. Barao would be able to concentrate more on fight preparation and conditioning -- something that has been a thorn in his side for quite some time.

Remember to stick with MMAmania regarding all things concerning UFC on FOX 16: "Dillashaw vs. Barao 2!"

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