Renan Barao (pictured), you might just be the UFC interim bantamweight champion, but are you ready for $41.5 million paydays? Well, that’s not exactly what UFC president Dana White meant when he compared Barao to boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather.
During Saturday’s UFC 165 post-fight press conference, White was asked if reigning UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones was MMA’s answer to Mayweather. Despite becoming the Octagon’s most decorated 205-pound king by posting his sixth straight title defense just minute prior, White bypassed “Bones” in favor of Barao for the comparison.
“I don’t know, it’s hard to compare guys to Floyd. Floyd’s just such a different animal. I mean, the closest thing to him right now is this kid,” White said of Barao, who was sitting to his right. “This kid hasn’t lost in eight years. Floyd hasn’t lost in 17 years.
“Do you know how hard it is to go eight years undefeated? Seriously, think about that. He doesn’t get enough credit for the record he has and what this guy is capable of doing, and it’s not just like he’s undefeated and he goes to decision and outpoints you. This dude f****** destroys you.”
White could have been merely doing his promoter thing to hype a new star by uttering those words, particularly since it appears he’s leaning towards stripping bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz if he can’t end his two-year hiatus by the beginning of 2014 to unify the crown against Barao, but the Brazilian’s résumé speaks for itself.
Barao hasn’t lost a scrap since his professional debut in April 2005. That was 32 fights ago, which includes one no contest in the middle of his torrid run.
As for Barao, despite being the least recognized UFC champion – primarily due to the “interim” moniker on his business card – the 26-year-old isn’t focused on garnering the spotlight. He just wants the chance to solidify his spot as the game’s top 135-pounder.
“I’m not out for recognition,” Barao said through an interpreter. “That’s not my job, it’s in God’s hands being recognized or not. I’m a fighter, I like what I’m doing, and the recognition is not up to me.
“I consider myself the champion. I’m just waiting for the UFC to make it official and give me [Cruz's] belt.”