Renan Barao is reportedly returning to the weight class where he once held UFC gold.
Renan Barao’s time as a UFC featherweight has apparently come to an abrupt end, as Brazilian MMA news outlet Combate reported that the former bantamweight champion is making a return to 135 lbs for his next fight. He does not have a fight scheduled and hasn’t fought since last September.
Barao (34-4, 1 NC) lost his bantamweight crown to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 173 in what was (by betting odds) one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. An immediate rematch was planned for UFC 177, but Barao passed out while cutting weight, and the bout was cancelled on the day of the weigh-ins. The 30-year-old would submit Mitch Gagnon in December 2014, setting the stage for the Dillashaw rematch in July 2015, which ended in another one-sided TKO defeat.
Following the second Dillashaw loss, Barao opted to return to featherweight, where he’d competed early in his MMA career, but he suffered a unanimous decision loss to Jeremy Stephens last May. He avoided a three-fight losing streak with a comfortable unanimous decision over Phillipe Nover.
The most recent news on Barao was a scheduled featherweight clash against Doo Ho Choi, but “The Korean Superboy” pulled out of the matchup. Now it looks like Barao is abandoning the idea of a third featherweight bout altogether.