Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao makes his return to the Octagon against Canadian Mitch Gannon (12-2) at UFC Fight Night: Machida vs Dollaway on December 20 in Barueri, Brazil.
Barao is set to compete in his home nation for the first time since 2010, and despite having held the UFC bantamweight crown for almost two years, he has never before fought in Brazil under the UFC banner.
“Fighting in Brazil for the first time is amazing,” Barao told MMAFighting.com. “I’m well trained, doing an excellent camp. Every fight is important. Just to have the opportunity to go in there and show my work is amazing. I’m really happy with the opportunity to fight here.”
As Barao (32-2-1NC) aims to bounce back the shock defeat he suffered to current 135lb champ T.J. Dillashaw on May 24 in California, the Brazilian is still hungry for redemption against the man who ended his 33-fight undefeated streak, but feels that Dillashaw would be keen to avoid fighting in front of a hostile Brazilian crowd.
“I think he would crap his pants,” Barao said. “Fighting in the United States is easy. I want to see him fighting me in Brazil. It’s completely different.
“Dillashaw is talking too much crap. If we fight again, you can be sure it will be completely different,” he continued. “When we fight again, he will see the real champion. I don’t like to make jokes, talk trash. I like to show my work inside the cage, show the best Renan Barao possible. (Dillashaw) can enjoy that belt for now, because it’s coming back to Brazil soon.”
While Dillashaw (11-2) is expected to defend the title against the freshly returned Dominick Cruz early next year, Barao stated he would still be focused on a rematch even if Cruz was to snatch the crown.
“I’d rather fight Dillashaw first,” Barao said. “It would be a big fight. Fighting Dominick later would be great. I just want to fight the best and bring the title back to Brazil.
“My goal is to fight for the title again. If [Dillashaw] has the title, I hope I can fight him as soon as possible. That’s my goal.
“I don’t think [Dillashaw] gets past [Cruz],” Barao said. “I believe Dominick wins. He has more weapons, and I think he wins.”