Renan Baraos’s head trainer Andre Pederneiras,has expressed his frustration with the UFC’s insistence on leaving Dominick Cruz as the bantamweight champion, despite Cruz’s two year absence from competition. He explains that even though Barao is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the entire world, the fact that he is the “interim” champion and not the undisputed one makes it tough for him to pick up sponsors.
“He’s very frustrated because he needs to make money,” Pederneiras stated in an interview with MMAjunkie. “So many sponsors here in Brazil are not sponsoring him because he’s not the real champion from the UFC. He’s the interim champion. He’s losing money every day. The sponsors here want a real champion. A linear champion.”
Pederneiras added that he wants a unification bout to happen as soon as possible.
“I don’t want another opponent,” Pederneiras said. “I want to make the fight happen by February, or I need to talk to Dana to take his belt, because more than two-and-a-half years, I don’t understand. But he said he was probably going to be fighting in February. I’ve been waiting for that and praying every day for it to happen. Renan wants to fight Dominick.”
If Cruz can’t return in early 2014 for a unification bout, UFC president Dana White has previously stated that they may end up stripping his title.
“It’s getting to the point now where it’s just like, if he can’t fight at the beginning of the year, we’ve got to pull the trigger,” White said at a pre-UFC 165 media event in Toronto.