Renan Barao is set to headline UFC 149 in Calgary, Canada alongside MMA legend Urijah Faber. It is undoubtedly the biggest fight of the young Brazilian's career and the UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship will be on the line.
Barao has made big waves at bantamweight since entering the UFC, putting together a three-fight winning streak and defeating respected 135-pound contenders Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett. Those wins, along with the fact that Barao is unbeaten in his last 30 fights, have led some to believe that he might be the next big thing at bantamweight.
So, what would it mean for Barao to take home a win at UFC 149?
First and most obviously, it would mean that he would join the elite group of men to ever hold a UFC title—even if it is only an interim belt. Winning a UFC Championship is the most impressive feat a fighter can accomplish in MMA today and a great honor.
More than that, a win would confirm and justify all the hype currently surrounding Barao. There's no doubting that he has looked impressive in the cage, but at the same time, beating Pickett and Jorgensen are not unheard of accomplishments.
If you beat Pickett or Jorgensen, you might be ready for the best. Faber is one of the most decorated fighters the lower weight classes have ever seen and a certifiable top-level guy. If you beat him, you are definitely ready for the best.
A win for Barao at UFC 149 proves that he is not just a prospect—he is an elite bantamweight.