Dominick Cruz continues to be recognized as the UFC bantamweight champion.
That leaves Renan Barao with his interim title, which he earned by defeating Urijah Faber and successfully topping Michael McDonald.
Next Saturday night at UFC 165, Barao will face Eddie Wineland and he could be soon moved to the top of the division with another win.
However, the Brazilian already considers himself No. 1 at 135 pounds.
“When I won the belt and defended it, (since that time) I’ve considered myself the champion,” Barao said. “Cruz has been out for almost two years.”
UFC president Dana White stated that “The Dominator” should be healthy enough to return to action at the start of 2014, and the plan is to place him with the Barao-Wineland winner. If Cruz is unable to go, though, the interim champion could become the unified champ.