Renan Barao: My focus is bringing the UFC belt back to Brazil
TJ Dillashaw may have decisively beaten Renan Barao one year ago for the bantamweight world title, but the Brazilian is still unconvinced that the the new champion is worthy. After a year, multiple delayed attempts at a rematch and a good deal of trash talk, Barao says that Dillashaw acts a bit too big for his britches.
"TJ Dillashaw has had one defense of the title and he thinks he’s the best champion in the world," Barao recently told media assembled in a scrum around him, through an interpretor.
"I don’t like him because he talks a lot of s***. He’s not a champion, he’s a joker."
The former champion is set to finally get his hands on the man who bested him for his belt, this July in Chicago. For now, squaring up with Dillashaw is the closest Barao has gotten to getting to make a point to his foe.
"I looked in his eyes just to tell him, ‘I will kick your ass,’" he said.
Barao was rushed into an immediate title rematch with Dillashaw a few months after his brutal loss to the American, but never stepped into the ring as he had trouble making weight, collapsed while cutting water pounds, and injured his head. As a result, Joe Soto stepped in on close to no notice to fight Dillashaw.
These days, Barao says he doesn’t struggle to keep weight off of his relatively huge frame as he once did. "It’s not a problem," he assured.
"I changed my preparation. Now, I’m more thin. We have good foods. I’m ok with that."
Through his struggles over the past year, Barao has felt words of criticism from Dillashaw like salt in a wound. The speedy defending champion has promised to send Barao up to a higher weight class, and said that he doesn’t think the Nova Uniao fighter has the speed to keep up with him in the UFC Octagon.
Now, the 28 year-old says the trash talk has focused him like never before. "I don’t care about what TJ says. I’m only focused to beat TK and the first focus is to bring the belt back to Brazil," he concluded.
"He said I’m not fast…He said I have problems cutting weight. It’s my personal life. He’s not a champion because you have to concentrate [on your own] career, not my career."