Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao is the latest big name to sign with upstart MMA promotion Taura MMA, according to a report from MMA Fighting.
Barao is expected to compete in the promotion’s featherweight division, and will make his debut—the first fight of a three-fight deal—sometime later this year. His debut opponent has not yet been identified.
Barao’s Taura MMA debut will mark his first fight since he was released by the UFC in 2019. His time in the promotion ended with a tough, 1-7 skid, as he sandwiched a win over Philippe Nover between losses to Douglas Andrade, Luke Sanders, Andre Ewell, Brian Kelleher, Aljamain Sterling, Jeremy Stephens and TJ Dillashaw.
Barao reigned over the UFC bantamweight division from 2012 to 2014. He claimed the interim title with a win over Urijah Faber, and defended it with a submission win over Michael McDonald and a TKO win over Eddie Wineland. He was then promoted to undisputed champion, and defended that title with a second win over Faber. He lost the title to Dillashaw in his next fight thereafter. The bout entered the history books as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
By signing with Taura MMA, Barao follows in the footsteps over other UFC veterans like former heavyweight Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and former middleweight contender Rousimar Palhares.
According to MMA Fighting, Bigfoot and Palhares will both debut on a card on October 10 in Kissimmee, Florida, against Brett Martin and Sean Loeffler respectively. The card will also feature appearances from UFC veterans like William Macario, Will Chope, and Guto Inocente.
Suffice it to say, Taura MMA is making some definite waves in the industry.
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