Barao was slated to face Dominick Cruz to unify the titles and decide the legitimate champion, but Cruz suffered a groin injury and had to vacate his belt. The injury promoted Barao from interim to undisputed champion.
With Cruz falling out, Faber steps in. He will not only get a chance to claim the belt but avenge a loss. At UFC 149 in July 2012, Barao defeated Faber via unanimous decision to claim the interim title.
In their first bout, Faber suffered a rib injury in the first round and saw his movement limited further by a stiff leg-kick attack from Barao. The Brazilian utilized good movement and distance to win four out of five rounds on two judges' scorecards and five out of five on the other.
Now, Faber is on a four-fight win streak (with three by submission), posting victories over Ivan Menjivar, Scott Jorgensen, Iuri Alcantara and Michael McDonald. Barao has only fought twice since UFC 149, defeating Michael McDonald by submission and then Eddie Wineland via a beautiful TKO at UFC 165 in September.
Faber will have a short training camp for this bout; he last fought on December 13. His bout with Barao will mark his third attempt at a UFC title.
UFC 169 will take place on February 1 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.