White: ‘Whether Barao wants to or not, he’s defending interim title’
It looks like Renan Barao will not be able to sit out and wait for Dominick Cruz to heal as originally planned. According to UFC President Dana White, the newly minted interim champion will defend his belt in early 2013. Many, including Barao’s team have pointed to the UFC letting Carlos Condit wait for GSP to return from the same injury as unfair. According to Dana White, that’s because Condit went through a lot to get his shot at not only the belt, but at GSP himself. Condit gave up his shot to fight GSP so Diaz could, and then had to fight Diaz himself when GSP became injured. The story is not the same for Barao.
“Carlos Condit, I think we quickly forget how many hoops that guy jumped through and all the things that he did, you know, stepping aside and all the stuff that went on in the crazy Nick Diaz situation,” said White. “He deserved to do whatever he wanted to do. If he wanted to sit out, he could.”
For Barao he was given a title shot when current champion Cruz became injured, and has been sitting on the side lines since July. Another factor in the decision could be that there is not set time table for Cruz’s return, and that they do not want the division to become to backed up. No opponent or venue has been set for Barao’s defense, but we can always speculate. In White’s eyes the most deserving would be Michael McDonald who knocked out former champion Miguel Torres in his last fight. In fact, he was considered for the interim title bout, but he was unfortunately injured.
“Whether he wants to wait or not, we’re probably going to go back to him soon and have him defend it (the interim title)., said White”
A rumored venue for the fight could be UFC 157 which is scheduled to take place on February 23d in Anaheim, California. There is no scheduled bouts for that card yet, but a title fight could surely be a headliner. The only other speculated or potential headliner is Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida, but with no time table on Henderson’s knee being 100 percent, Zuffa is probably tentative to make the match. No matter where the fight takes place it is nice to see an interim champion defend his title nonetheless.