Renan Barao Will Not Defend Interim Title; Waiting for Dominick Cruz

McKinley NobleCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2016

Jul 21, 2012; Calgary, AB, CANADA; Renan Barao during the interim bantamweight title bout of UFC 149 against Urijah Faber (not pictured) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE
Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

Rather than defend his UFC interim bantamweight title, Renan Barao is opting to sit out while linear champion Dominick Cruz recovers from injury.

That's the official word from Barao's coach, Andre Pederneiras, who says that the interim champion should be granted plenty of time to wait for Cruz. As reported by Bloody Elbow, Pederneiras argued his case during an interview with UOL (Latin America's largest Portuguese online news network):

"[Barao] just won the title, he just fought. We will wait. 'Look how long the wait was for Condit and GSP to unify the belt?"

Barao won the UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship in a title fight with Urijah Faber at UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Faber was originally supposed to challenge Dominick Cruz for the lineal bantamweight title at UFC 148, but Cruz suffered an ACL injury during a training session on the set of The Ultimate Fighter: Live.

Barao was granted a spot as Cruz's replacement on the strength of his 6-0 winning streak in the UFC and WEC, in addition to his 30-fight undefeated run dating back from May 2005.

UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre suffered a similar injury in December 2011, effectively sidelining him for most of this year. UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit choose not to defend his title during that time, citing a preference to wait for St. Pierre to recover.