Former champ Renan Barao not interested in moving up to featherweight

Renan Barao is not the UFC bantamweight champion anymore and might have to win two or more fights to get a rematch with T.J. Dillashaw. But he has no designs on changing weight classes.

The Brazilian told UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani that he has not considered moving up to featherweight, despite having issues making the bantamweight limit of 135 pounds before what would have been a title rematch with Dillashaw at UFC 177 in August.

Barao had to pull out of that bout the day before weigh-ins when he hit his head coming out of a bathtub while attempting to cut weight. Joe Soto filled in and fell to Dillashaw by unanimous decision. UFC president Dana White announced that Barao would not get another rematch right away.

"No, I think this is my division and I still have a lot of work to do," Barao said. "My division is bantamweight."

Barao (32-2, 1 NC) will meet Mitch Gagnon in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night on FOX Sports 1 from Sao Paulo on Dec. 20. That card is headlined by a middleweight contender fight between Lyoto Machida and C.B. Dollaway.

Gagnon is a solid, up-and-coming fighter, but he’s ranked just No. 15 among bantamweight contenders. That’s a significant step down for Barao, who had not lost before Dillashaw fight in May since 2005. Barao is just 27 years old and still ranked No. 1 among 135-pounders. No. 2 Dominick Cruz will get the next shot against Dillashaw.