Renan Barao has officially pulled away from the rest of the pack in the UFC bantamweight division. Much like his teammate Jose Aldo, Barao has proven there is no one in the bantamweight division that can slow him down. Urijah Faber had the best chance of defeating him and he came up way short.
On Saturday, Barao proved he should be in the discussion when it comes to the top-five pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He completely dominated Faber on the feet. The victory extends an already impressive UFC record to 7-0. His UFC 169 victory also proved that Barao is maturing and getting better with each fight he takes.
Now having defeated the upper echelon of the bantamweight division, there are few competitors fans can get excited about in terms of a title shot. Barao has already finished Faber, Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald. Both Scott Jorgensen (who Barao defeated by decision) and Brad Pickett (who Barao submitted) have moved on to the flyweight division.
There remains only two or three fighters who have the resume to contend for a title shot against Barao. Raphael Assuncao looks like the favorite to be next in line for a title shot if he defeats Francisco Rivera at UFC 170. He will ride a five-fight win streak into the bout with his most significant victory to date in the UFC coming against T.J. Dillashaw.
Another possible contender is Faber’s Team Alpha Male teammate Dillashaw, who rebounded from his loss against Assuncao by outpointing Mike Easton. Due to that setback, Dillashaw would probably need another victory before a title shot would be granted.
No matter who ultimately gets the next title shot, it is doubtful he will defeat Barao.