I previously wrote about why Renan Barao will not be a big star for the UFC. To summarize, he won’t learn English, he is horrible at talking to the media because he gives cookie-cutter answers, and he has no way of connecting with his fans besides him being from Brazil. Unfortunately for the UFC, Barao is an amazing fighter and a certified killer, but all of that does not matter because he cannot draw an audience.
It is fairly obvious that the UFC is beginning to get behind Barao because he is headlining the upcoming UFC 173 card. The card, mind you, has some amazing fights on the main cards with way bigger names than Barao and T.J. Dillashaw.
It is a strange move by the UFC, but one that makes sense. If Barao can become a star, then it draws attention to the lighter weight classes, which in my opinion put on the more exciting fights. To the casual fan though, Barao is still not a household name, and that makes him headlining the card a bad move.
Headlining a card signifies that the brass has your back and they are putting faith in you to deliver. It means that you are in a huge fight, and the potential to make big money is literally knocking at your door. The only problem is that you have to deliver by promoting the fight and getting people interested. Barao will not do that. This is not his first time headlining a UFC PPV, and the other cards he headlined did not do well.
I think that Barao should have been put as the co-main event because a title fight is an important fight, but he will not promote the fight or help it garner interest.