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Tag: interim champion

Nova Uniao Head Trainer Confirms Renan Barao Is Totally Being Screwed by That Whole “Interim” Title


(And to think, if the guy on the left had won, we’d have a new outright champion by now. Photo via MMAFighting.)

October 1st will mark the two year anniversary (?) of the last time we saw bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz defend his title in the octagon. Multiple ACL tears and a rejected cadaver ligament transplant have seen the once dominant champion sidelined ever since his 2011 battle with now flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. As such, the bantamweight division has been stuck in a perpetual state of limbo, frustrating fans, fighters and most importantly, Dominick Cruz.

But perhaps the only person more frustrated by Cruz’s arduous road to recovery than the champ himself is interim title holder Renan Barao, who recently became the first fighter in UFC history to defend said title twice (via a second round KO of Eddie Wineland at UFC 165). Actually, Barao is the first fighter in UFC history to ever defend an interim belt. Unfortunately, the Brazilian isn’t seeing many benefits of being the closest thing to a champion his division has seen in a dog’s age.

That’s at least, according to Nova Uniao head trainer Andre Pederneiras, who recently appeared on MMAJunkie radio to discuss Barao’s current predicament:

He’s very frustrated because he needs to make money. So many sponsors here in Brazil are not sponsoring him because he’s not the real champion from the UFC. He’s the interim champion. He’s losing money every day.

The sponsors here want a real champion. A linear champion. 

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Dominick Cruz Now the Only Person No Longer Concerned About Defending His Bantamweight Belt


(Cruz, seen here showing off the results of his latest trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Those ball pits can be VICIOUS.) 

For the past two years, the UFC’s bantamweight division has been an absolute ghost town, plagued by injury to the point that even its replacement champion hasn’t been able to come out unscathed. I can’t remember the last time I typed Dominick Cruz’s name into the CagePotato CMS, to be honest — as I do it now, a message asks me if I meant “Domino’s Crust” and that doesn’t even make any goddamn sense.

While there’s not much than anyone can do to speed up Cruz’s recovery time — the man is coming off double knee surgery (including a botched cadaver-ACL transplant), for Christ’s sake — there comes a time when a champion’s inability to defend his own belt should come at a cost. Paul Taylor was recently released by the UFC simply because he has been plagued by injury and incredibly bad luck since 2011. Not that he and Cruz are exactly comparable in terms of their standings in the promotion, but at what point should the UFC step in and force Cruz to hand over his baseball to the kids who can actually play with it? It’s a question that the champ himself cannot answer, but if you think he is even worried about it, think again:

I can’t worry about the belt. It’s really not my position to decide whether I keep it because I’ve been injured or whether Dana takes it or whether Barao has it. The belt is there. The bottom line is me getting healthy so I can go out there and do what I do best which is prove why I am where I am today.

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Yes, Renan Barao Will Defend His Interim Bantamweight Title Against Michael McDonald


(Well, it was either this or “Ya Mo Be There.” / Props: FreeFights4You)

As confirmed by UFC president Dana White on last night’s edition of UFC Tonight, UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao will indeed defend his belt against 21-year-old rising star Michael McDonald, with Dominick Cruz out of action until the second half of 2013 due to continued knee problems. A date and location for the fight have yet to be determined.

Though the UFC has been messing around with interim titles since 2003, Barao vs. McDonald will be just the second third time that a UFC interim champion will fight another contender while the actual champ remains sidelined. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was the last to do so, when he won the interim heavyweight belt against Tim Sylvia in February 2008, then lost it in an interim title defense against Frank Mir later that year. (Update: Andrei Arlovski did it before Nog, when he won the interim heavyweight belt against, yes, Tim Sylvia in February 2005, then defended it successfully against Justin Eilers four months later. Arlovski was declared the UFC’s official heavyweight champion after that fight.)

Barao, who originally planned to wait out Cruz’s injury to ensure a shot at the unified belt, won his interim title in a decision against Urijah Faber in July, extending his career win streak to 19 (!), the last four of which have come inside the Octagon. McDonald is also 4-0 in the UFC, and is coming off first-round knockouts of Miguel Torres and Alex Soto. As MMAFighting points out, McDonald has the opportunity to become the youngest titleholder in UFC history should he find a way to beat the Brazilian juggernaut.

After the jump: Dominick Cruz shares more details about his recent re-injury, and how he’s dealing with the setback.

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Bantamweight Interim Champ Renan Barao Will Likely Defend His Title Against Michael McDonald


(Don’t fart…don’t fart…don’t fart…don’t fart…)

Well here’s a bit of good news for once.

If you’re like us, you’re probably sick to death of watching interim champions all but refuse to defend their titles while the actual champions remain on the shelf. So when Renan Barao’s camp announced that he would be taking the Carlos Condit approach to the interim title, we here at the CP offices let out a collective groan before pouring another round of Johnnie Walker Blue Label on the rocks — also known as our HR department — and prepared for a long winter of semi-meaningful-but-not-really bantamweight fights. Thankfully, Dana White is a Johnnie Walker man, and after he smashed a bottle of it over Danga’s head, we managed to come to an agreement regarding the UFC’s last remaining interim champ.

White recently told MMAWeekly that Barao will likely be defending his belt before champion Dominick Cruz is back in action, and his potential opponent should come as a surprise to no one.

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Renan Barao, Carlos Condit, and Why the UFC Needs to Eliminate Interim Titles


(“OK guys, the winner gets an interim belt, the loser has to purchase a replica from Wal-Mart. I assure you that they both carry the exact same value.”) 

In a recent interview with Latin American online news network, UOL, bantamweight interim champion Renan Barao‘s coach, Andre Pederneiras, declared that Barao would not be defending his interim strap and instead would wait for Dominick Cruz to recover from the ACL injury that set up Barao vs. Urijah Faber at UFC 149. And before the MMA media could even begin to make the comparison to Carlos Condit, Pederneiras did it for us, stating:

[Barao] just won the title, he just fought. We will wait. Look how long the wait was for Condit and GSP to unify the belt?

Where Pederneiras was attempting to use the Condit comparison as a justification for Barao’s decision to essentially put the bantamweight division on hold for the time being, he unknowingly summed up the inherent pointlessness of the interim title in the first place.

As you are all aware, the interim title essentially serves as a placeholder for the division’s number one contender (at the time) in the absence of a champion. The problem being that, by declaring the number one contender to be “a champion” when they are anything but — and I mean this with all due respect to Condit and Barao — you are basically giving a contender a power that they have not rightfully earned: the power to pick and choose who they fight.

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Five Things the UFC Needs to Fix If They Want to Continue Their Upward Trajectory


(When Zuffa purchased the UFC, Dana White actually had hair. There is no punchline, just a fact worth mentioning.)

By Nathan Smith

I have purchased pay per views from the Ultimate Fighting Championship since 1994, where I was welcomed to the sport with Pat Smith turning the face of Scott Morris into a Manwich at UFC 2: No Way Out. It was like heroin after that – I was addicted. Since then, I estimate that I have shelled out well over $5000 on PPVs alone, much less another sizeable chunk of change on tickets to live events and the obligatory UFC merchandise (who can live without the life-sized GSP cardboard cut-out – NOT ME).

Throughout that time I have been an advocate of MMA to the uninformed masses that I’ve encountered at watering holes across this great land. For every, “That UFC shit is just a legalized bar fight” comment, I would swoop in like Dogwelder to defend the UFC and its competitors. It was almost a grass roots effort by the early UFC supporters to educate the ignorant and let them know that this is a real sport filled with unbelievably talented athletes. The edification continues today as many intelligent fans try to shun the perceived stigma that we are a bunch of tatted-up dudes wearing flat-billed TAPOUT hats and driving small-penis-compensating monster trucks while applying ring worm ointment to our wounds.

Then there was the figure-head, the fearless leader that was taking all the media scrutiny head-on and paving the way while holding up his middle finger to the man. After the ZUFFA purchase, Dana White was a perfect fit during the infancy of the UFC’s push towards legitimacy. Adopting rules and weight classes and marketing the shit out of the product culminated in a 7 year deal with FOX and its affiliates. Now the UFC is on the precipice of its fourth nationally televised FOX card and the ratings have plummeted from 5.7 million during UFC on FOX 1 (Cain Velasquez VS Junior Dos Santos) to 2.4 million during UFC on FOX 3 (Nate Diaz VS Jim Miller).

I don’t think it is a coincidence that viewership and PPV buys are down. I have always been a staunch supporter of the brand and even I, a die hard fan, am starting to see chinks in the UFC armor. The reasons have been dissected on CP with various posts but I believe that this is just the beginning of problems for the UFC unless some changes are made pronto. I am not saying that the UFC is in the toilet but as the organization has grown in stature from eviscerating the competition, a standard evolution needs to happen.

So with that in mind, here are five ways that the UFC can move from their current plateau all the way to the mountain top.

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Report: Johny Hendricks to Face Martin Kampmann in Number One Contender Bout at UFC 154


(Earning red wings: It is a messier right of passage for some than for others.) 

If the name hadn’t already been used for UFC 125, Resolution would be the perfect title for UFC 154, which promises to finally clear up the traffic jam that has clogged the welterweight division for what has felt like an eternity. Not only will it feature the potential return of Georges St. Pierre, who will in turn battle interim champ Carlos Condit for the bragging rights of a division that has long been missing them, but now it appears that the winner of that bout (ruling out any horrific decisions or immediate rematches) will have his next (or first) challenger already lined up.

Word has it that Martin Kampmann, fresh off yet another come-from-behind victory over Jake Ellenberger at the TUF 15 Finale will be facing hard hitting Johny Hendricks at the same event to determine the true number one contender at 170 lbs. This sounds all too familiar for Hendricks, who was promised the next title shot if he were to beat Josh Koscheck at UFC on FOX 3 last month. He did, and was promptly denied in favor of a Condit/GSP showdown. “Bigg Rigg” was rather blunt about his disappointment in a recent interview with MMAFighting, but stated that it wasn’t going to peeve him for too long.

Hear what Hendricks had to say after the jump. 

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Carlos Condit Interested in Possible Rematch With Martin Kampmann Depending on GSP’s Recovery Rate


(We know, Carlos, we didn’t believe it was Arianny in that mugshot either.) 

We haven’t heard much from Carlos Condit since his controversial, interim title-earning decision over Nick Diaz at UFC 143, even though the man he beat out for said title has given him plenty to talk about. No, all we’ve heard from “The Natural Born Killer” is that he plans to spend the rest of 2012 on the shelf in order to finally get his much deserved shot against Georges St. Pierre, who is no stranger to life on the sidelines.

Well now it seems that the fighting bug is starting to get to Condit, who recently told HDNet’s Inside MMA that he would be open to the idea of defending his interim title, were GSP’s absence to be prolonged, that is. How you can defend a title that isn’t, you know, an actual title, is beyond us, but regardless of what we think, Condit said that he’d like to face none other than the man responsible for his sole loss in the UFC given the opportunity:

If it turns out Georges can’t fight in November, most likely, I will fight somebody else. I really wanna fight Georges. I really wanna unify the belts, but there’s also some other guys that I would like to fight as well. You know, Martin Kampmann‘s the only guy that I’ve lost to in the UFC, the only guy I’ve lost to in about the last six years, so I would definitely like to avenge that loss.

Few can forget the pair’s initial meeting, which took place back in April of 2009 at Fight Night 18 and saw Kampmann emerge victorious by way of split decision in what was a hell of a three round affair.

And while we agree that it would be nice to see any fight in the welterweight division that has some kind of title implications behind it, it appears that the chances of Condit/Kampmann II going down anytime soon are somehow less likely than that of Condit/GSP. Here’s why.

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