If UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo does indeed make a move to lightweight, current interim bantamweight champ and teammate Renan Barao could also move up a division.
"I feel very good in this weight division, but I feel in two or three years, if Aldo decides to move up a weight division, I might do that, too," Barao recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
The 5-foot-7 Barao (29-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC), best known for his incredible 29-fight win streak, actually debuted for the WEC in June 2010 in a 142-pound catchweight bout. That mark was requested by his opponent, Anthony Leone, who took the fight on short notice. Barao's five fights since have all been at 135 pounds.
But before his time under the Zuffa banner, Barao competed at 145 pounds, and he admits he wouldn't mind doing it again someday in the future.
"I used to fight at 66 kilos (145 pounds), but when we closed the deal with the WEC, our trainer decided that I needed to fight at bantamweight because I would never be champion since Aldo had been there forever," Barao said. "He wanted another champion on the team."
That decision worked out for the best; Aldo has been a Zuffa champion since 2009. Meanwhile, Barao claimed the UFC's interim bantamweight title with a decision win over Urijah Faber in July. On Feb. 16 he puts the belt on the line against challenger Michael McDonald (19-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) in the headliner of UFC on FUEL TV 7 in London.
Of course, a potential move to 145 pounds is completely dependent on Aldo someday making a long-discussed moved to lightweight. The two Nova Uniao fighters are primary training partners and have no desire to ever meet in the cage.
Still, just as Aldo is tiring of cutting to 145 pounds, Barao also says 10 pounds fewer to cut would be a welcome change.
"Actually, I'm naturally the same weight as Aldo, but I cut more to make weight," Barao said. "I think I would suffer a lot less. I sacrifice a lot by cutting. I'd be able to eat a little better and relax a little more.
"I think the weight cut is what makes me most nervous going into a fight. I get very neurotic. I would be much more relaxed."