"The way I saw it, there was no way he was going to get back on his feet," Barao said. "He was done. It wasn't my fault – it was the referee's decision. But I don't think there was any way he was going to come back (after being knocked down)."
That stoppage wasn't the only thing the Brazilian thought came with good timing.
In the first round, Wineland took all three judges' scorecards with a 10-9 frame thanks to his striking efficiency and a couple takedown defenses.
In the second, though, Barao said his plan was to take the fight to the ground and go after a submission – and the kick was there for the taking, nullifying that plan.
"I've always done the spinning kick in fights – I've done it before," he said. "Against Wineland, I saw the opportunity. In the first round, he was taking a few steps back. The second round, I saw the perfect opportunity. I thought I could do it – it was the right opportunity.
"The first round, what we do is study the opponent. Apart from the kick, I thought it was a good opportunity to use my jiu-jitsu (in the second round). I'm a black belt, so I thought if I put him on the ground, that would be it. (The jiu-jitsu) was coming."
Barao now must sit and wait to hear news on champion Dominick Cruz, who is on the mend from back-to-back knee surgeries. The hope is that Cruz will be able to be back by early 2014 – he last fought in October 2011 – and then fight Barao to unify the titles.
That's definitely what Barao wants. And while he's at it, if he gets to have some wishes granted, he'd love to be able to fight in Brazil for the first time since signing with Zuffa.
"Of course I what to fight Dominick," Barao said. "I'm praying he gets better so the fight can actually happen. But if he doesn't, it'll be what the UFC decides. It's not up to me. I just want to bring the belt back to Brazil. I'd like the fight to be in Brazil. It would be very special to me fighting in my home, where my fans are. If it doesn't happen, I'm ready to fight, regardless. If it can, that's a dream come true for me."
One way or another, he's made plenty of fans – and his boss, UFC President Dana White, is among them.
White on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com that Barao had flown under the radar even for him.
"We really have all – me, you, the fans – really overlooked Renan Barao and how f---ing great this kid really is," White said. "Somebody asked the question the other night, 'Do you think you're not getting the respect because it's the interim title?' Well, he's beating all the guys that Dominick Cruz would be fighting if he was here. So he really has flown under the radar this whole time, and I got dope-slapped on Saturday about how great (he really is). I was like, 'Holy s--t, this kid!' I started looking through his stats and going, 'F---ing eight years?' This guy hasn't been beaten in eight years. Eight years. He's won 21 fights in a row. He's won the title and has defended it. Wow."