On Saturday, UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao will headline his third UFC pay-per-view event. Despite this exposure, Barao has struggled to connect with many MMA fans. Barao and UFC president Dana White seem to have a different opinion on one of the things that may be preventing Barao from having that breakthrough moment.
During a media scrum on Thursday, White said that Barao's popularity is not hampered by the fact that he does not speak English. "I've heard every stupid thing you can possibly hear," said White. "I hear he's not handsome enough, I hear he doesn't speak English. Listen, if you're showing up to see handsome guys speak on Saturday you're coming to the wrong f---ing show, okay?"
Barao, on the other hand, does believe that his use on an interpreter may be one of the reasons he is having a hard time connecting with fans. "English is very necessary," Barao said through his interpreter at . "So, it's in my plans to maybe move to America in the near future to try and learn some English." media day
If Barao (32-1-0-1) can defeat No. 4 ranked T.J. Dillashaw (9-2) in the main event of UFC 173, Barao will have a 10-fight winning streak in the WEC / UFC. In addition, a win on Saturday would give Barao a second successful defense of the UFC bantamweight title. That short reign as the undisputed UFC 135 pound champion is another reason Barao feels he may not be connecting as much with fans as other established UFC champions.
The 27-year-old Barao expects that he will defeat Dillashaw and extend his championship reign. As Barao said on Thursday, "It's still (only) my second (title) defense, so I still have a long way ahead, if I continue with this track record, I'm going to be recognized and famous."
If Barao, who normally trains out of the famous Nova Uniao in Brazil does move to America, he said he would also look to do some training while in the States, citing the "excellent" boxing and wrestling schools. However, he stressed that the main function of the visit would be to relax, and focus on his English skills.