Bantamweight champion plays match-maker ahead of his next fight.
He has not been told who his next opponent is, but if Renan Barao has anything to say about it he would like to put his belt up for grabs against Raphael Assuncao sometime this Summer.
Barao is entitled to call some of the shots in his future having come off a dominant victory against Urijah Faber in the first round.
Victory for the Brazilian was the first time he defended the undisputed title, with his previous two victories coming only as the interim champion with Dominick Cruz continuing to recovery from several knee injuries.
“I think Raphael Assuncao is probably the top contender right now,” Barao said. “He’s been working hard for this, and he should get his shot. He’s coming off six wins, and he’s beat many guys. He deserves this. But whoever the UFC puts there, I’m prepared to go out there and do my best.”
In the wake of the win over Faber, Barao is happy to have the “interim-champion” monkey off his back and cane be now classed as a ‘proper champion’ despite most pundits never really doubting the 27-year-old’s obvious skills in the octagon.
“I’m very happy,” Barao said. “This was my goal all along and I had the opportunity to get it. It’s another great achievement, and now those questions about my interim status, about being the real champion, are gone.”
Despite rumours he was considering a move to featherweight, Barao said he would be happy to stay in the 135lb category saying there are still plenty of attractive fights out there for him.
“I’m cool in this weight division,” Barao said. “I think there’s still a lot of work to do. We’ve always talked about this, that whatever’s best for the team and whatever [Nova Uniao head coach Andre Pederneiras] felt I should do would be for the best, but I’m OK here and there’s still a lot of work to do.”