Urijah Faber has warned UFC® 149 opponent Renan ‘the Baron’ Barão that he will tear up the stats sheet when the pair collide for the UFC Interim Bantamweight Championship at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on July 21.
At 28-1-0 (1NC) with the longest unbeaten streak in the sport, Brazilian sensation Barão has the most intimidating record in all ofmixed martial arts. The 25-year-old has turned back the challenge of his last 29 opponents – dating all the way to 2005 – stopping 19 inside the distance and has yet to lose a single round in the UFC while walking through elite contenders like Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen.
The FightMetric statistics on the Baron make for terrifying reading for UFC fighters who weigh 135lbs.
· In the five bouts Barão has had in the UFC and WEC, the Brazilian has been taken down just once, stuffing 13 of 14 attempts to grapple him to the floor. That is a takedown defense average of 93% and, in his last fight against top contender Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143, the Baron stuffed all seven takedown attempts.
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· Barão is the most active striker in the history of the bantamweight division (both in the UFC and WEC) – landing an average of 4.3 significant strikes per minute in the Octagon.
· He is the most effective striker in bantamweight history at kickboxing range: fully 85% of his strikes are thrown from distance, way above UFC average of 56%.
But former featherweight world champion Faber, who is vastly experienced with a 26-6 MMA record, believes he will drag Barão into deep waters in their five-round fight.
“Barão has a good record and is obviously very talented – but I’ve been fighting at a different level,” Faber said. “He’s got this great record, but I’ve fought better guys and beaten better guys than he has. A lot of people seem intimidated by this guy, but I’m not. He’s got skills and he loves to brawl, but none of that worries me. I’m dragging him into deep water. Like I’ve said, I’m the best he’s ever fought but he’s not the best I’ve fought – and I will prove that to him in the first round of the fight. One round in, he will realize the difference between me and the rest of the guys he’s fought.”
The 135lbs contenders meet for the Interim Title created when UFC bantamweight king Dominick Cruz was sidelined for the rest of the year with a serious knee injury. Faber is 1-1 against bitter rival Cruz, but said he is equally motivated for this fight at UFC 149.
“This is personal, too,” he said. “I don’t know Barão, I know nothing about him personally and I don’t dislike him as a person like I do Dominick Cruz, but every fight is personal to me. Barão is trying to harm me, to mess me up and take away my dream of being the UFC world champion. What’s more personal than that?”
Faber added: “This is a better match up for me and the fans than me against Dominick would have been. This guy comes forward and clearly loves to fight, where Dominick likes to find his range and go in and out. This is more my type of fight – this will be a war.
“This is to decide who is No.1 in the division. I feel I won both fights against Dominick, and we will get to that when his knee is healed. But I feel the winner of this fight (with Barão) will be the No.1 in the division.”