Andre Pederneiras would prefer Renan Barao fight Dominick Cruz, but wouldn't wait too long

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

With the bantamweight division stagnating as UFC champion Dominick Cruz continues to recover from his knee injury, interim champion Renan Barao is in a position where either he can defend his belt or wait for Cruz. Barao's coach Andre Pederneiras gave his thoughts on the situation.

Renan Barao is the UFC's interim bantamweight champion following his decision win over Urijah Faber at UFC 149. It's "interim" because of Dominick Cruz's torn ACL earlier in the year. Dana White stated at the UFC 154 post-fight press conference that they were planning to have Barao defend his title whether he wants to or not. Barao's coach and Nova Uniao leader Andre Pederneiras talked about what he'd rather do as far as the belt is concerned. Via MMA Junkie:

"If I had a choice, I would rather Renan fight Dominick (Cruz), but I don't want to wait too long," Pederneiras said.

Cruz pulled out of his title fight with Urijah Faber in May, had surgery in June, and early projections had him out between 9-18 months. So "waiting too long" is completely dependent on how long Pederneiras thinks Barao should wait.

If Barao defends his interim title, it will likely be against singer-songwriter/K-1 kickboxer/MadTV cast member Michael McDonald. Pederneiras only briefly touched upon the potential matchup.

"I think his game is a good game for Renan," said Pederneiras, who recently heard that UFC President Dana White would offer Barao a fight before getting a shot at champ Cruz.

While I understand Carlos Condit waiting to fight GSP because it's a big-money fight and he'll never get a higher profile matchup, I don't understand why Barao would wait for Cruz. It doesn't benefit Barao in the slightest to sit out for possibly more than a year, and it holds up a division that has really had a lack of top-level fights since its merger into the UFC from the WEC.

I'd certainly like to see Barao defend his title at least once instead of sitting on the sidelines. And given the rash of injuries the UFC has suffered, I think they know they want as many title fights (even for interim belts) available as possible.

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