Renan Barao has long been regarded as one of the greatest fighters in the Bantamweight division. Barao is a former UFC Bantamweight Champion. It's not a fact not known to many, however, Renan Barao holds the record of the longest undefeated streak in the history of MMA. Surprisingly enough, it's a record often associated with current Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Dagestani fighter currently holds a 28-0 record in MMA, with 13 straight wins inside UFC. Khabib Nurmagomedov holds the record for the longest undefeated active win streak in the history of MMA.
Renan Barao's impeccable records inside the octagon include notable victories over Urijah Faber (twice), Eddie Wineland, and Brad Prickett. Barao recorded 32 straight fights without a loss (31 wins and 1 no-contest) over a span of 9 years.
Renan Barao: The forgotten great of the Bantamweight division
Renan Barao is not as popular in the fighting world as he should be. Before signing with WEC, Barao held an impeccable 24 fight win-streak. However, it was after coming to WEC, and later to UFC that fight fans around the world started to appreciate Renan Barao for his flawless fighting style.
In the absence of Dominick Cruz between 2012 to 2014, Barao scaled the heights of the division with 5 back to back victories inside the UFC octagon. Renan Barao would also go down as the only fighter to defend the interim belt.
In the absence of an injured Dominick Cruz, Barao took on Urijah Faber for the interim strap. He recorded an impressive unanimous decision win over Urijah Faber to win the interim UFC Bantamweight Championship. Barao would later defend the interim belt against Michael McDonald, and again against Eddie Wineland in the next one year. Barao was later promoted as the undisputed Champion after his win over Wineland in September 2013.
Barao would go on to pick up another impressive victory over Urijah Faber. He won the fight via TKO in the first round. In the process, he finished Urijah Faber in the first round for the first time in the last 6 years of his illustrious MMA career. Since then, only Petr Yan has finished Faber inside the octagon.
Barao's impressive win streak came to an end against TJ Dillashaw. In his second title defense, Barao took on rising prospect Dillashaw at UFC 173 and looked impressive throughout the fight. However, Dillashaw got better towards the later rounds of the fight. Dillashaw landed a brutal head kick and followed it up with a barrage of punches to finish the fight and end the streak.
The rise and fall of Renan Barao
Barao was never the same fighter after his loss to TJ Dillashaw. Despite a strong performance against Mitch Gagnon in the following fight, Barao would suffer another 4th round TKO loss against TJ Dillashaw for the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Since then, Barao has only won once in his last seven fights inside the octagon. Since the loss to Dillashaw in the rematch, Barao has lost to Jeremy Stephens, Aljamain Sterling, and Brian Kelleher among the top fighters in the Bantamweight division.
Barao made his last appearance inside the Octagon in November of 2019 before being released from the promotion the following month. Barao is a teammate and training partner of former UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. With a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Barao used to be a fright train inside the octagon during his prime.
Regardless of the current record, Renan Barao has gone down in history as one of the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. Barao's record of 32 fights without a loss continues to stand untouched. It will be a while before any other fighter reaches the coveted mark. Khabib Nurmagomedov is the closest with 28 straight victories to his name and will look to extend his winning streak when he takes on Justin Gaethje in his next title defense.