"I was really happy with the news. We’re finally getting in there to do the fight that everybody wants to see and find out who’s the real champion. I always wanted it and rooted for his recovery. I feel I’m the champion. Being in there and doing my work, I’m a champion already. He’s also the champion, but I am too. Let’s see who leaves the Octagon as the champion."
Brazilian bantamweight Renan Barao (31-1) has emerged as the best 135er in MMA over the past two years, surpassing champion Dominick Cruz (19-1) for the distinction while “The Dominator” worked his way back from consecutive ACL tears. However, while Barao is 8-0 under Zuffa’s banner including wins over Brad Pickett, Scott Jorgensen, Michael McDonald, and Urijah Faber, the title around his waist still comes with an “interim” tag. The 26-year old will have a chance to remove the label in early 2014 at UFC 169. He recently spoke to MMAFighting about finally getting his hands on Cruz, as well as the honor of fighting alongside Nova Uniao teammate (and UFC featherweight champ) Jose Aldo at the event. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)
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