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Renan Barao done with 135-pound division, says he's 'feeling really good and really strong at featherweight'

Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

The days of Renan Barao dominating the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight division are presumably long gone. While T.J. Dillashaw is a big reason why the Brazilian may never again hoist the 135-pound title over his head, grueling weight cuts ultimately separated Barao from a future at bantamweight.

Luckily, the former UFC champion is more than willing to test his skills at the featherweight level. Despite losing his divisional debut to the hard-nosed Jeremy Stephens earlier this year at UFC Fight Night 88 in a contest that won Fight of the Night honors, Barao believes his true home remains at 145 pounds.

"I'm feeling really good, really strong in this weight class," said Barao in a recent interview with FOX Sports. "That's because I don't have to suffer like I was suffering in the past with the weight loss. I was having difficulty recovering after the weight cut, which I believe affected my performances. I'm feeling really good and really strong at featherweight."

Barao, 29, will take on Phillipe Nover later today (Sat., Sept. 24, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 95 from Brasilia, Brazil. While he's enjoying a lighter weight cut for the second-straight time, "The Baron" is still as focused as ever.

"My focus is the fight," added Barao. "I'm training like I'm fighting a top-five opponent so for me it doesn't matter that Phillipe Nover isn't a ranked fighter. I'm training the same way if I was fighting someone in the top five."

"My focus in this fight is to get a knockout or submission. To finish the fight as soon as possible because I'm going to be very aggressive in this one."

While Barao didn't completely rule out a future return to 135 pounds, he seems driven to succeed within the featherweight division. And even though Nover isn't going to propel him all the way up the divisional ladder, all he needs in one spectacular performance to regain the pound-for-pound potential he possessed just a few years ago. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 95 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.

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