Two notable MMA veterans will be testing free agency entering the new year as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has parted ways with former bantamweight champion Renan Barao and two-time title challenger Liz Carmouche.
Barao’s release was initially reported by Brazilian news outlet Combate, while Carmouche’s departure was confirmed by her manager, Kyle Stoltz, with ESPN. According to Stoltz, Carmouche was informed of her release while doing promotional work for UFC in Washington D.C.
Barao, 32, has been living on borrowed time for a while now. The former UFC champion has produced a disastrous 2-7 record inside of the Octagon since losing his 135-pound title to T.J. Dillashaw back in 2014. The Brazilian veteran was once considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, evident by his unbeaten streak from 2005-2014, but has never come close to regaining his dominant form. Barao was hoping to reinvent himself with another move up to 145 pounds last month at UFC Sao Paulo, but ultimately lost a unanimous decision to Douglas Silva de Andrade.
Carmouche, 35, made history back in 2013 when she fought Ronda Rousey for the inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight title. While Carmouche ended up losing to Rousey via first-round armbar she still served as a prominent pioneer for women’s MMA and aspiring female fighters everywhere.
Unfortunately for Carmouche, she never quite cashed in on her UFC stardom. After her loss to Rousey the experienced veteran produced an average 5-4 record inside of the Octagon. “Girl-Rilla” did position herself for another title fight when she challenged Valentina Shevchenko for the UFC women’s flyweight strap back at UFC Uruguay, but Carmouche ended up losing via decision in one of the most boring title fights in recent memory.
What do you think, Maniacs? Where should these two veterans land?