Yesterday, UFC bantamweight champion, T.J. Dillashaw and newly crowned flyweight champion, Henry Cejudo had a brief exchange of words on Extra TV. In the 1 minute segment, Dillashaw doesn’t waste time on informing the presenter, Mario Lopez what his intentions would be should they go head to head: “I will knock him out”. Continue reading “Report: Henry Cejudo and T.J. Dillashaw exchange words on Extra TV”
It’s official, UFC 227 is in the books and if you didn’t watch the fights live, I bet you wish you did on hearing the results. The event will certainly go down as one to remember – this time for all of the right reasons.
Leading up to the event, the UFC took a lot of flack about the strength of the card for a PPV. All things considered, this card pleasantly surprised the MMA world and most importantly, the two smallest men’s divisions put their biggest feet forward.
Renan “The Baron” Barao is, without doubt, one of the greatest mixed martial artists we’ve ever seen grace the octagon. He held one of the longest win streaks in MMA history and was a formidable champion in the UFC bantamweight division. In this article, we’re going to look at “The Barons” early career and how he ruled his division for many years, and then take a look at what went wrong for the Brazilian.
Barao was born in Natal, Brazil. He grew up in the rough slums of Brazil and no doubt had to learn to defend himself from a very young age. Barao trained at the infamous Nova Uniao (with fellow Brazilian hitman Jose Aldo) where he slept on a bed which was made out of a board laid across a stack of bricks. The Brazilian would go to bed early and sleep in late so he only had to afford lunch. Times were very hard for Barao and his family. “My grandmother, my mother and aunt are the people who took care of me. I had a tough childhood,” Barao said in a UFC interview. “My mom was too young. She couldn’t really take care of me, so my aunt helped and my grandparents raised me. They still care for me today.” Despite these struggles, the Nova Uniao standout remained solely focused on becoming the greatest mixed martial artist on the planet, at whatever cost!
In 2005 Barao made his professional debut at Heat FC, he lost the fight to Joao Paulo Rodrigues by a decision. Not deterred by this minor hiccup Barao only grew more hungry for success. Nobody would have expected from that performance that Barao would go on to win his next 32 fights in a row and become one of the greatest fighters of all time. After the defeat, Barao fought in various Brazilian organisations, punching holes through, and tapping out every poor soul that stood in front of him.
Then a great opportunity presented itself to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, a contract with Shooto, one of the biggest MMA Promotions to come out of Brazil. Barao continued to knockout and submit everyone in Shooto, he also had a few fights in different organisations, but he mainly dominated Shooto. And in 2010 Sherdog named him number one on their “top 10 Brazilians to watch in the future” list, they sure weren’t wrong.
In 2010 with a 24-1 record, Barao made his debut for WEC and although it was only a short stay, “The Baron” made an impact and submitted both Anthony Leone and Chris Cariaso in spectacular fashion. Then Barao got the call he’d always dreamed of. The UFC wanted him to fight under their lights, and without a second thought, the Brazilian accepted with open arms.
Barao made his debut at UFC 130 where he beat Cole Escovedo by decision. He then went on to tap out Brad Pickett in front of his beloved English hometown fans, then a decision victory over Scott Jorgensen earnt Barao a shot at the Interim bantamweight belt. This would not come easily though, as it was against Uriah Faber who was also in decent form. Barao managed to beat Faber by decision and was scheduled to fight the champion Dominick Cruz, but a second ACL tear meant Cruz was expected to be out for a long time, so the Brazilian was crowned the official UFC bantamweight champion.
Barao defended the belt three times in style. He submitted Michael Mcdonald, knocked out Eddie Wineland with a spinning back kick, and then knocked out Uriah Faber. Barao was feared, his opponents didn’t know if they would have their heads punched or kicked clean off, or whether Barao would linch onto a limb and try and break it. Either way, it wasn’t going to be pretty for anyone who got in “The Barons” way. Confident on his win streak, the Brazilian said in an interview with UFC Espanol: “I’m very relaxed with this winning streak issue; sometimes it’s mentioned by my teammates regarding the number of fights I have won one after other, but I don’t think on it”.
At UFC 170 Barao was scheduled to fight Raphael Assuncao, but Assuncao was ruled out due to a rib injury sustained in his previous fight which didn’t heal as expected. This left the door open for the American TJ Dillashaw. The Californian was a heavy underdog in the fight and was coming up against his toughest test yet, the formidable Renan Barao. In a fight that shocked the world, TJ Dillashaw absolutely kicked the living stuff out of Barao. Dillashaw was first to every punch and was able to dictate the fight completely. In the fifth round Barao could take no more, Dillashaw landed a head kick of beauty and followed it up with some punches, the referee was forced to stop the fight. The 32 fight unbeaten streak over nine years had come to an end. The UFC bantamweight division had a new king, and there was absolutely nothing Barao could do to change it.
“The Baron” went on to submit Mitch Gagnon and won another performance of the night bonus, the impressive display given by Barao gave him another shot at champion Dillashaw. But history was sure to be repeated. Dillashaw emerged victorious for the second time proving that the first fight was no fluke and that he was, in fact, the real deal!
Since then Barao has gone downhill massively, Barao even tried stepping up in weight to reignite his fire but has only managed to accumulate a 1-3 record. Losing to Jeremy Stephens, Aljamain Sterling and Brian Kelleher.
It’s no surprise that Barao is still fighting as he knows nothing else, “The Baron” has been fighting for so long theirs nothing else in the world he wants to do, despite his body telling him otherwise. Barao has got nothing more to prove and if he did decide to retire, I’m sure it’s a decision even his biggest fans would respect. The Brazilian built up an outstanding legacy and will surely be inducted into the UFC’s Hall Of Fame. Barao doesn’t have a fight booked at the present time and is silent on his future plans. But we can all admire what a legend the Brazilian is and it’s been an honour being able to watch “The Baron” lay down the law in mixed martial art’s greatest proving ground.
The UFC never fails to bring a wow moment. A champion taking a shock defeat, or a heavy favourite losing out on their number one contender fight, we get to see it all. In this article, we’re going to give you our list of the top five upsets from recent years inside the UFC. We hope you enjoy reading.
5. Renan Barao vs TJ Dillashaw
Renan Barao was a dominant champion if ever there was one. On a 32 fight win streak and the UFC bantamweight champion for four years beating everyone in his way. He beat names like Uriah Faber, Michal Mcdonald and Brad Pickett in his time of total dominance before coming up against TJ Dillashaw.
Dillashaw had impressed in previous fights, but nobody expected him to dethrone the Brazilian champion in the fashion that he did. Dillashaw had lost to John Dodson and Raphael Assuncao in previous fights but beat Mike Easton in a fairly unimpressive fight by decision before getting his shot at the 135-pound strap. At UFC 173, Renan Barao was scheduled to fight Raphael Assuncao, but Assuncao had a rib injury from his previous fight which hadn’t healed properly. This left the door open for Dillashaw to fill in at short notice and he jumped at the opportunity.
Dillashaw looked like the champion in that fight, he completely dominated and Barao was outclassed in every aspect of the fight. Dillashaw was first with every punch and kick and Barao had no answers for the questions being asked of him from the American. In the fifth round Barao couldn’t withstand any more punishment, Dillashaw landed a head kick which would have toppled over an elephant before landing some finishing punches to end the fight.
Barao’s unbeaten streak was over and it was TJ Dillashaw who would now carry the torch for the UFC’s 135lb division.
4. Dominick Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt
Despite being plagued with injuries, Dominick Cruz was dominant in the bantamweight division for nine years. He never lost his title but was forced to hand in his beloved champion status due to not defending his belt. Although, he won it back the first time of asking, despite fighting only once in a five year spell away from the sport. Cruz has beaten some of the best fighters MMA has to offer over the years, with names like Demetrius Johnson, Uriah Hall and the before mentioned TJ Dillashaw, all falling victim to “The Dominator”.
Cody “No Love” Garbrandt was up and coming and was fierce. He clearly had no fear of Cruz and felt he was the man to end Cruz’s reign at the top of the bantamweight division. “No Love” was knocking out everyone in his path with his explosive fists. He possesses such punching power he would illuminate the octagon when he caught his opponent with a deadly hook or uppercut. But Cruz was confident in his footwork and imagined he would be able to evade the devastating strikes from Garbrandt, but boy was he wrong!
“No Love” finally got his shot at UFC 207 after enduring a 10 fight win streak. Early on in the fight, it was clear that Garbrandt was much faster than Cruz had imagined. Garbrandt was able to close the distance, strike Cruz, and return to a safe distance before Cruz could land a counter strike. This was infuriating for “The Dominator” as this is what he had done to opponents for so many years. Garbrandt was literally dancing and mocking Cruz, then landing more strikes and returned to mocking. “No Love” won the fight with a convincing decision victory, leaving the UFC bantamweight division shocked and impressed. Garbrandt is the real deal and nobody will ever underestimate him again.
3. Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman
Anderson Silva holds the longest-serving middleweight champion title of all time inside the UFC. He held the belt for over seven years and was on a 16 fight win streak, defending his middleweight crown 10 times. Many wondered if Silva was apart of the matrix by the way he dodged and ducked his opponent’s strikes and landed his own strikes with such ease and fluidity. Many think Silva is the greatest fighter of all time and he has earned that accolade with victories over Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson and Forest Griffin, just to name a few. Nobody expected the king of the middleweight division to be dethroned quite the way he did.
Chris Weidman, however, was hungry. He had procured a 9-0 pro record and was looking great in his fights. “The All-American” had shown he had knockout power of his own, but he also had a great ground game and a wrestling ability to match. Weidman also looked fearless in his fights and was ready to face the Brazilian. Make no mistake about it, the king was not going to be receiving any respect from the hungry American.
At UFC 162 we all expected another highlight reel finish from Silva to add to his growing collection. We all knew Weidman had great potential, but we didn’t expect what was soon to follow. “The All-American” started off strong, however, neither fighter was in complete control of the fight. But, in the second round, Silva was ducking and swaying Weidman‘s punches, until Weidman caught the Brazilian right on the chin. As Silva dropped like he’d just been dealt a swift kick in the crown jewels, Weidman pounced, and Silva’s inability to recover forced the referee to call an end to the action and the middleweight division had a new champion in Chris Weidman.
2. Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm
Ronda Rousey was the reason female MMA took off so well in the UFC. Her Olympic judo and exceptional arm-bars became a thing of beauty and a regular occurrence during her time at the top of the woman’s UFC bantamweight division. Rousey had an undefeated record of 12-0 and was easily dismantling every challenge the UFC put in front of her. She was relishing her time at the forefront of women’s MMA.
Holly Holm had only been on the MMA circuit a short while, however, she had an extensive record in both boxing and kickboxing and had collected multiple accolades in her time in both sports. She had also gained a 9-0 pro-MMA record in four short years and had earned her toughest fight yet, a shot at Ronda Rousey, The Pioneer of women’s MMA period.
Many didn’t know what to expect from this fight. It was the most intriguing fight MMA fans and experts were most excited for. Rousey had made no reason to ever doubt her abilities by being so dominant, but Holm had tools which Rousey had never had to deal with prior to her fight with “The Preachers Daughter”. But it was at UFC 193 Holly Holm shocked the world. Rousey marched to the octagon with her war face on, ready to demolish another victim, while an anxious Holm awaited her fate. But after Bruce Buffer announced the two ladies and the referee let them know what was expected of them, the fight commenced.
Rousey flew at Holm trying to close the distance early on, but Holm was able to keep the distance and land her shots on the champion. Rousey grew more and more frustrated as “The Preachers Daughter” was able to dodge and duck all the champions efforts and kept on landing her own shots. Holm was making a mockery of Rousey and there was nothing she could do about it. 57 seconds into the second round, Holm landed her famous Cro–Cop styled head kick, and the champion dropped. Holm had done it! The UFC’s greatest female champion had been defeated, and Holm was the new queen of the women’s bantamweight division.
1. Luke Rockhold vs Michael Bisping
Luke Rockhold was enjoying life in the UFC. Prior to signing with the UFC, he was the Strikeforce middleweight champion and showed the wide range of skills that he possessed. Legit knockout power in his hands, ferocious kicks, and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game even Royce Gracie would approve of. Despite losing to a roided up Vitor Belfort in his first fight for the UFC, Rockhold went on a five-fight win streak to win the UFC middleweight title, defeating Michael Bisping, Lyoto Machida and the champion Chris Weidman all in fairly straightforward fashion. Many thought we may see another middleweight champion as dominant as Anderson Silva if previous fights were anything to go by.
Michael Bisping, however, was waiting to fulfill his destiny, and since losing to Rockhold had gone on a three-fight win streak defeating CB Dollaway, Thales Leites, and Anderson Silva. The 10-year UFC veteran knew his time was running out to ever become the UFC champion he had forever wished he’d one day become. But at UFC 199, Rockhold was scheduled to fight Chris Weidman in a rematch, but an injury forced “The All-American” off the card. On just 10 days notice, Bisping got the call he had always dreamed of, a title shot. “The Count” was pursuing his acting career and was in the middle of shooting a film, but turning down the fight wasn’t an option. He accepted immediately and got a flight straight home to begin the growling weight cut to 185lbs.
Rockhold looked arrogant as always and seemed to think he was too good and couldn’t be touched. After the last time these two collided, Rockhold felt that Bisping had nothing in his arsenal that could trouble him and it was only a matter of time that an opportunity would present itself and he’d be able to finish Bisping again. But he couldn’t have been more wrong. After throwing a straight punch at Bisping, the Englishman was able to move to the left of Rockhold and land a left hook over his opponent’s shoulder. Rockhold dropped like a led balloon. Every fan watching in the UK was leaping out of their seats as Rockhold scrambled back to his feet, but Bisping landed another left hook which dropped Rockhold again. Bisping then landed a three punch combination to the face of the stunned American and the ref jumped in to save him. Bisping had done it! 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears were worth it as Bisping roared when Bruce Buffer announced: “AND NEW”.
What an amazing sports MMA really is. We look forward to many more of these moments in the future.