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Does Renan Barao Deserve The Number One Pound-For-Pound Spot?
Renan Barao has solidified his status as the number one Bantamweight fighter on the planet, scoring a first round TKO win over Urijah Faber at UFC 169 and continuing his incredible 33 fight/8 year unbeaten streak. The win over Faber on Saturday was yet another reminder that Barao is one of the best fighters pound for pound on the planet right now.
The UFC fighter rankings are yet to be updated since 169, and Barao currently resides in the #6 spot on the official UFC P4P rankings list. Dana White said that ‘Baron’ would shoot up the list with a finish over Faber at 169, and a first round TKO is surely what the Brazilian needed to get closer to Jon Jones’ number one spot.
The Light-Heavyweight kingpin ‘Bones’ has ruled the pound for pound roost since Anderson Silva’s first loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 162, surely it is only a matter of time until Barao surpasses Jones on the list. I’d think that with the fighters Barao has finished, he should really have a shout for the top spot.
Finishes seem to be a big deciding factor in a fighter’s placement on the P4P list, most noticeable by Benson Henderson’s three spot slide in the wake of his UFC on Fox 10 victory. So looking at it from the perspective of recent finishes; Jones has gone to the judges twice in his last five, as has Barao. ‘Bones’ has two submissions and one TKO in his last five, to Barao’s two TKO’s and one submission. It’s hard to separate the two.
So how about the calibre of opponent each man has faced? Well, Barao has beaten Faber x2, Scott Jorgensen, Eddie Wineland and Michael McDonald in his last five, in comparison Jones has beaten Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Lyoto Machida, Alexander Gustafsson and Vitor Belfort. The fact that Jones holds wins over three former champions in recent times probably aids his argument for the number one spot.
The main difference here is longevity, and number of fights. Barao is unbeaten since his 2005 debut and has been on a path of destruction ever since. Jones may have a ‘loss’ to Matt Hamill on his record, but the DQ is often overlooked and dismissed. Barao’s incredible 32-1 NC streak puts him in that number one spot, at least in my opinion.
We’ll see what the pound for pound rankings look like when they are updated, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Barao at least claim Jose Aldo’s number two spot. The Featherweight boss went to the judge’s scorecards at 169 against Ricardo Lamas.
Photo: Tom Szczerbowski for USA TODAY Sports