MANILA, Philippines – Brazilian fighter Renan Barao is on cloud nine after he became the new Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim bantamweight champion last Saturday in Calgary, Canada (Sunday in Manila).
Barao defeated Urijah Faber in the main event of UFC 149 to win the interim belt, in what was his first championship bout in the UFC.
“It’s a dream come true, this is the happiest moment of my life,” Barao told UFC.com in a post-fight interview.
“I knew I won the fight because of the way I fought, but there were all kinds of thoughts running through my head when they were reading the decision,” he added.
But the fight was far from a classic, and UFC fans in Calgary booed the fighters even as the decision was being announced.
Barao admitted in the post-event press conference that he was “a bit surprised” by the boos.
“But that’s a good message. Next time, I will try to play a different game,” he said, admitting that he employed a more careful game plan against Faber.
“Next time, I’ll try to play a different game to please the crowd a little more,” Barao said.
Barao was never really threatened throughout the fight, keeping Faber at the end of his jab for most of the five rounds and landing his kicks and punches with more frequency.
Although it was not a dominant performance, Barao feels he is ready to take on Dominick Cruz, the UFC bantamweight champion who is currently on the injured list.
“I want to fight the best, and I think Dominick Cruz is the best,” he said.
But the Brazilian star said he will have no problem with fighting another foe while Cruz heals up.
“It’s not up to me to decide who I fight next. It’s up to the UFC and I’m an employee of the UFC. I’ll fight anyone,” Barao said.