Prior to UFC 149, some considered Renan Barao the best fighter without a title. After the event, Barao now has gold around his waist and could be waiting for a title-merging fight with bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
In his interim title fight against Urijah Faber, Barao shut down six takedown attempts and dominated the striking game to prevent "The California Kid" from capturing a UFC belt for the first time in his illustrious career. It could even be said that Barao looked more dominant against Faber than Cruz did in his July 2011 rematch with the former WEC featherweight titleholder.
Barao is a serious threat to end Cruz's long reign over the 135-pound division and would potentially even be a favorite to win that matchup. If Cruz's recover from knee injury doesn't suffer any setbacks, it seems likely Barao would simply wait for his fellow bantamweight champion to return instead of defending his interim belt in the meantime.
Since that is a real possibility, let's take a look at whether Cruz or Barao would have the edge in what would be one of the most highly-anticipated fights in bantamweight history.