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Thursday, 01/09/2014, 09:05 am

Renan Barao: “(Faber) has evolved a lot… since our last fight”

Renan Barao was recently crowned the official bantamweight champion after former champ Dominick Cruz announced that he is yet again injured and was forced to pull out of their unification bout set for UFC 169.

Luckily, “The California Kid” Uriah Faber was there to take the fight with Barao on short notice. The two have faced before back at UFC 149 in which Barao dominated Faber. Barao now has defended his title twice since becoming the interim champ at 135lbs. And though he was looking forward to a battle with Cruz, he feels that Faber is the most logical choice for a replacement opponent for their bout, which will headline UFC 169 set for February 1 in Newark, NJ.

“I believe that choosing Faber to fight me was a fair (decision),” Barao said. “He’s one of the best in my division and has evolved a lot since our last fight. He’s going to do his best on fight night, so will I.”

Barao is a monster in the sport. He is currently 8-0 under the Zuffa banner and is undefeated in his last 32 professional fights, and doesn’t feel like he needed to be told that he was the undisputed champ at 135 pounds, he already felt that way.

“I was surprised with the news that Dominick Cruz got hurt again,” said Barao. “But I always felt I was the undisputed bantamweight champion. He hasn’t fought for a long time and I have defended my belt.

He continued:

“I’m sad that he’s injured, I was training and hoping for this battle since WEC. I hope that he recovers soon, but I don’t feel the need to fight him to prove I’m the champion.”

Uriah Faber has been on a roll as of late. Faber is on a four fight win streak since his loss to Renan Barao with submission victories over Michael McDonald and Scott Jorgensen. Barao is no fool and is well aware the he is going to have his hands full come February.

“I have to set a new strategy with my coaches because Faber’s style is different (than Cruz’s),” he said. “He’s slower, but he’s really tough and handles too much punishment standing. He has evolved a lot in this aspect since our last fight, but I’m prepared for anything. The most important is to go there and do a good show for the fans.”

The card for UFC 169 is an exciting one, as featherweight king Jose Aldo is set to fight Ricardo Lamas for the featherweight title in the co-main event. Renan Barao vs Uriah Faber is the main event of the evening.

All quotes via MMAFighting.com

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