Former WEC and UFC star Renan Barao will make his return to the cages later this year. | UFC
Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao has a new place to call home.
The man who once reigned as the best bantamweight on the planet signed with Brazilian-based promotion Taura MMA, a company that has inked deals with several UFC veterans over the past few days.
Sources told MMA Fighting that Barao (34-9, 1 no-contest) signed a three-fight deal and is expected to make his debut in November or December. Taura MMA has yet to set an exact date and location for the card, which could take place in Brazil or in the United States. Taura MMA is looking for another UFC veteran to be his opponent in a featherweight bout, sources said.
Barao was considered one of the top pound-for-pound talents in MMA between 2012 and 2014, racking up an incredible 32-fight unbeaten streak against the likes of Urijah Faber (twice), Eddie Wineland, Michael McDonald, Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett.
The Natal native hasn’t been the same since losing the 135-pound title to T.J. Dillashaw in May 2014, going on to win in only two of his next nine octagon appearances. Barao was let go by the UFC after dropping five in a row between 2017 and 2019.
Although the date and opponent for Barao’s first post-UFC bout are still to be determined, the promotion has a list of UFC veterans already booked for its first incursion in U.S. soil later this year.
Taura MMA 11, scheduled for Oct. 30 in Kissimmee, Fla., features Rousimar Palhares vs. Sean Loeffler, William Macario vs. Will Chope, and Guto Inocente vs. DJ Linderman, MMA Fighting has learned. The card, which includes a previously-reported heavyweight clash between veterans Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Brett Martin, will be headlined by company’s light 205-pound titleholder Richardson Moreira against a yet-to-be-defined challenger.
Palhares (19-10-1) makes his return to the middleweight division after years as a welterweight, looking to snap a three-fight winless skid. Loeffler (34-5), who won 15 in a row over the last 10 years, was signed by the UFC at one point of his run, but was released after an injury forced him out of his UFC on Fuel TV 1 debut with Buddy Roberts.
The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil finalist “Patolino” Macario and Will Chope, who fought the likes of Neil Magny and Max Holloway respectively, under the bright lights of the UFC in the past, will meet in a welterweight showdown. Bellator and World Series of Fighting veteran Linderman takes on Glory heavyweight Guto Inocente in a three-round bout.