Make no mistake: Renan Barao was on his way toward his third consecutive title defense and another win over Urijah Faber, regardless of referee Herb Dean’s premature stoppage.
Let’s not blur the lines between controversy and reality. Sure, Faber has every right to be upset considering the fight was stopped while he was giving a thumb’s up sign and intelligently defending himself. It’s a tough way to lose any fight, especially a UFC title bout.
Boos echoed throughout the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey as Barao was declared the winner by TKO at 3:42 of the first round. What has followed is nothing short of overdramatic nonsense all centering on the UFC’s darling child and a referee attempting to do his job.
In reality, Faber showed nothing to convince anyone he was actually in the fight. He spent a large chunk of the first round fighting on instinct after getting tattooed with a straight right hand from Barao, who once again proved to be the more fluid and dynamic striker.
Is it Dean’s fault Faber was on wobbly legs throughout most of the fight? Did Dean throw the straight right hand or massive overhand right that sent Faber face first into the canvas?
Perhaps there is another story lying underneath all of the “controversy.” Could it be that Barao is just that good?
When listing the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, people tend to push Barao’s name to the back of the list behind every other UFC champion. Barao, who has yet to show any weaknesses, is riding a 32-fight win streak, minus a no-contest back in December 2007.
A three- or four-fight win streak is typically a big deal in MMA, but the mere notion that a fighter could win 32 fights consecutively in such an unpredictable sport is mind-blowing. Barao may be the most underappreciated champion in the UFC.
Early stoppage or not, Faber had nothing for Barao. He never showed anything in the rematch to suggest he had made the necessary adjustments to finally oust the Brazilian. If anything, the bout was already shaping up to be the fifth consecutive letdown in “The California Kid’s” bid for MMA gold.
The UFC 169 main event had everything to do with what Renan Barao did right, not what Herb Dean did wrong.