Faber vs. Barao: Win for Pegado Would Be Passing of the Torch in UFC

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IJuly 21, 2012

February 4, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Renan Barao reacts after defeating Scott Jorgensen during UFC 143 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

Renan Barao has a great opportunity in his title match against Urijah Faber at UFC 149.

That opportunity is not only a chance to grab the interim Bantamweight belt, but also to beat one of the greats in the history of MMA, Urijah Faber.

Faber has been the class of his weight division in MMA for several years now. He's a former champion with a record of 26-5 throughout his MMA career and The California Kid has seen, and beaten, some of the best in the sport.

The California Kid was once the upstart young stud making his way up the ranks, much like Barao is now. Faber started out 22-1 in his MMA career and looked unbeatable doing it. Sure, he didn't have the streak Barao has going now, but that doesn't change how incredible Faber's run was.

However, at age 33, Faber has seen his greatness tail off considerably in the past few years. Having lost four of his last nine fights, all title bouts, Faber is running dangerously close to being sent back down to the bottom of the division, having to restart a championship run all over again.

For Barao, he's one of the most impressive young fighters in the UFC today and one of the top fighters in his weight class.

Barao has gone unbeaten in his last 28 fights, and with convincing victories over Brad Pickett and Chris Cariaso by way of submission in the first round, Barao has proven to be a fierce competitor worthy of elite competition.

In short, both of these fighters are going in opposite directions, with Barao going up and Faber going down.

Barao's fight with Faber is a chance for Barao to become the household name that his opponent currently is. It's a chance for Barao to earn the respect and recognition his outstanding record so rightfully deserves.

Barao is the future of the Bantamweight division and what better way to prove it than to beat the previous future of the Bantamweight division.

It won't be easy by any means, but a win for Barao will signal a passing of the torch in the UFC from a past great (Faber) to a current one.