UFC on Fuel TV 7: Renan Barão Win Sets Up Epic Showdown with Dominick Cruz

Ethan GrantAnalyst IFebruary 17, 2013

Jul 21, 2012; Calgary, AB, CANADA; Renan Barao celebrates defeating Urijah Faber (not pictured) in the interim bantamweight title bout of UFC 149 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

A title unification is afoot in the UFC bantamweight division.

After Renan Barão took care of Michael McDonald in the fourth round (via Yahoo! Sports) of the pair's interim title fight at UFC on Fuel TV 7, he set up what will be an epic showdown against currently injured Dominick Cruz for the full title of bantamweight championship.

The potential title fight hasn't gained as much press with Anderson Silva's name in the news for both Georges St-Pierre and Jon "Bones" Jones and Cain Velasquez taking the world by storm in the heavyweight division.

Attention, UFC fans: It should.

For starters, Barão moved to 30-1 in his MMA career and is currently riding a 20-fight win streak that now includes title-fight wins over Urijah Faber and McDonald.

He and McDonald traded jabs for most of the afternoon on Saturday, but Barão managed to get McDonald in position for an arm-triangle that ended things with three-minutes-and-change left in the fourth round.

UFC president Dana White was asked about the potential match, and he responded positively to what could be one of the better UFC title fights in recent memory (from MMA Weekly via Yahoo! Sports).

“Hopefully Cruz is healing up well and we can do that fight,” said UFC president Dana White when asked what was next for Barão. “That's the fight I want to do and hopefully we can do that this summer.”

Cruz has had a long absence from competition. 

He hasn't fought since October 2011, when he defended his title against Demetrious Johnson. Since then, knee surgeries and delays from a potential return have clouded Cruz's future in the UFC.

If the company can get this fight together, it will be a potentially huge match.

Cruz (19-1 in his own right) has plenty of pedigree, and his last loss came as a member of the WEC. Since then, he won the title outright from Faber and then defended it against Johnson in late 2011. However, knee injuries threaten to claim his existence and have allowed Barão to take over the division.

From the Brazilian's dominance to the comeback story Cruz would provide, this is a cash-cow for a potential pay-per-view showdown. Barão defended the title on Fuel on Saturday, but he likely won't have another fight on cable TV as long as he's the champ.

The one with Cruz certainly wouldn't be, and as long as the rehab and therapy continue along the right way, the UFC has an epic title fight on its hands.