Renan Barao has his sights set on reclaiming the UFC title. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
Renan Barao re-established himself in the UFC bantamweight division on Saturday, defeating Mitch Gagnon late in the third round of their bout at UFC Fight Night “Machida vs. Dollaway.”
With the win, the former champion put a fifth-round technical knockout loss to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 173 and weight-cutting debacle prior to UFC 177 behind him, and looked ahead to a rematch with the current champion.
“I have one thing to say: I want my belt back,” Barao said after the fight. “Dillashaw, I have two gifts for you, my left hand and my right hand. I’m going to shut up your mouth.”
While Barao may feel as though he deserves to be back in the conversation for a title shot, the situation has become convoluted since Dominick Cruz has returned to the scene. Following Cruz’s 61-second win against Takeya Mizugaki in September, UFC President Dana White made it clear that “The Dominator” was next in line fora shot at Dillashaw’s title.
That’s not to mention Raphael Assuncao, a winner of seven straight fights who has also quietly made a strong case for meeting Dillashaw for the belt.
Following UFC 177, White emphasized that “The Baron” would need to work his way back up the ranks and would not automatically receive No. 1 contender status, so a potential bout with Assuncao could make sense within the division.