In the eyes of UFC president Dana White, Renan Barao will not only be fighting to retain his UFC bantamweight title in the main event of UFC 173, he'll also be in the running to reclaim the ranking of No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC.
The official UFC rankings have Barao (32-1-0-1) as No. 3 in the pound-for-pound rankings, trailing light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and featherweight champion Jose Aldo. White does not seem to agree with those rankings, telling assembled media following Saturday's UFC Fight Night card, "I still go back and forth with the Jon Jones and Renan Barao thing, but I think - without a doubt, Renan Barao is the No. 2 ranked."
White said the appeal of watching a Barao fight is that he knows the 27-year-old Brazilian is not going to hold anything back when he steps into the Octagon, "No matter who he faces he goes in there to finish them, and that's what he does," said White. "I love guys that go in there to annihilate people and that's what he does."
Barao joined the UFC in May 2011. Since that time he has put together a record of 7-0. Three of Barao's first four fights with the promotion went to decision, but his last three bouts have all ended in finishes, with one submission and two TKO victories. Barao has also captured Fight Night bonus awards in two of his last three fights.
Barao will defend his bantamweight crown against No. 5 ranked T.J. Dillashaw (9-2) in the main event of UFC 173. That fight card will take place on May 24 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.