Tucked away on the prelims of UFC Orlando the now almost terminal decline in the career of Renan Barao continued. Once the dominant UFC bantamweight champion and one of the best pound for pound fighters on the planet, Barao has now lost 2 straight and has only won 2 of his last 7 fights including losing his UFC title to TJ Dillashaw in a sensational upset at UFC 173 in May 2014.
The defeat to Brian Kelleher in Orlando should have come as a surprise, but in truth, it didn’t. The Barao of today looks fragile, vulnerable, a sad shadow of the once great fighter he once was. Before the loss to Dillashaw, Barao was 32-1, he hadn’t lost since 2005 in his professional MMA debut, and looked set for a very long reign indeed.
Barao had his moments against Kelleher, and while he has lost many things, his heart isn’t one of them, look at the last minute or so of the fight with Kelleher for proof, bravely soaking up punches while still looking to salvage the fight and perhaps save his career in the process. But sadly for Barao it wasn’t enough, and he lost clearly on points 30-27, 30-27 and a 29-28, now and faces an uncertain future.
So what has gone wrong for the Brazilian, he certainly hasn’t been helped by repeated brutal weight cuts, the damage to his body only he truly knows, failure to evolve his game and move with the times, others might throw other reasons about, but whatever the truth is, Barao from what we have seen recently, looks done.
If the UFC does release Barao which must be a distinct possibility now, Bellator and others would no doubt want his services, but I for one have no interest in seeing once great fighters carry on when their day in the sun has long since gone.