Renan Barao says he is giving “thanks to God” that the fight with Dominick Cruz is finally happening - but not only because it gives him the chance to become the undisputed UFC champion.
Interim champion Barao has been ruling the division in Cruz’s absence. The two are now set to fight at UFC 169 on February 1, with Barao’s Nova Uniao team mate Jose Aldo defending the featherweight title against Ricardo Lamas on the same card.
“I always said my goal is to fight against the best and Dominick Cruz was on the top of the category. I knew I would face him sooner or later, but I knew this fight would happen,” Barao tells Fighters Only.
“Thank God it is scheduled at a good time. Now I will be able to say when I can fight with Dominick Cruz, because every day I was being asked about it and I didn’t know what to answer.”
“I am very happy with the date because the environment at Nova Uniao will be great. The preparation is going to be excellent, with positive energy in the trainings.
Barao has already started training for the bout. “I have been doing some trainings in Natal [where he lives] to get into rhythm. In November I will travel to Rio de Janeiro only to focus on this bout.”
Renan Barao is the UFC ínterim champion since 2012, when he beat Urijah Faber. He successfully defended the belt against Michael McDonald and Eddie Wineland. Cruz last fought in 2011, when he defeated Demetrious Johnson by unanimous decision.