Renan Barao was taken out of the fight quick in his UFC bantamweight title defense bout last May against TJ Dillashaw when the Team Alpha Male fighter connected with a hard punch and dropped the champ. Dillashaw would go on to dominate and then finish the fight to become the new 135 pound king.
If Barao looked out of it after the first round, it was because he was. During a recent media scrum, the Brazilian reveals that he has no memory of any of the fight until the punch that dropped him.
"I remember everything that happened until that point," he said.
"After [that punch], I only woke up in the locker room. The fight was really close in the beginning, but everything changed after that punch.
Now, not only will the two fight again in an immediate rematch for no compelling reason, they will do so next month. Barao and his team complained that he didn't have enough time to prepare for Dillashaw before their first bout and then conversely decided to skip adequate rest, recovery and training time to prepare for him a second time, so quickly in their rematch.
"He landed a heavy punch in the beginning of the fight and I kept fighting on autopilot," Barao continued. "I was too slow, I wasn’t thinking. [Coach Andre Pederneiras] told me to do one thing and I did another. But I will fight smart this time, I won’t let this happen again."
Dillashaw's coach Duane Ludwig told Cagewriter recently that he believes the fight is happening too soon in every way, and wondered why Barao would not allow himself enough time to heal up after the memory-wiping concussion he received against Dillashaw not long ago. By accepting a fight in late August, Barao has had to basically jump right back into a training camp and not let his mind and body heal before taking more damage in sparring.
"You always have to bring something new," Barao went on. "I accepted the fight on short notice and I wasn’t 100 percent ready for it, but this time will be different. I never trained so hard in my entire life, so it’s going to be different."
So, Barao feels that he didn't train enough for the first fight and his solution is to not rest and heal enough for the second. There's no telling what will happen in the rematch between these two great champions on Aug. 30, but we can be almost certain that, considering Barao's admission of brain damage in the first bout, the former champ is jumping in to it pride-first, and not with his long-term health in mind.