Respect is hard-earned in today's world, especially when it comes to mixed martial arts.
So when the president of the UFC proclaims that you may be the very best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet with a victory in two weeks at UFC 169 over a red-hot Urijah Faber, people are going to take notice.
“If [Renan] Barao goes out and stops Faber, he's probably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” said Dana White following UFC Fight Night 35 this past Wednesday, originally reported by Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports.
Faber replaced an injured Dominick Cruz earlier this month after reports surfaced that the former bantamweight champ had to pull out due to a torn groin. Cruz was attempting to return to the Octagon for the first time in over two years.
In any case, Barao will still have his hands full. The 26-year-old defeated Faber back at UFC 149 to capture interim title rights, but it was one of his most hard-fought UFC performances to date.
To add to the mix, Faber is coming off four straight victories in 2013, including three submission finishes. He's arguably one of the hottest fighters in the sport right now.
So if, and that's big if, Barao is able to halt the 34-year-old's divisional resurgence, he'd have to be considered one of the best fighters on the planet.
Promotional superstars Jon Jones, Jose Aldo and Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson won't make Barao's claim for the pound-for-pound crown easy, but it's truly difficult to set aside the 22-fight win streak the Brazilian would carry with a win over Faber on Feb. 1.
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