Many people think that Renan Barao is the best fighter in mixed martial arts. Ahead of his fight with challenger T.J. Dillashaw in the main event of UFC 173 Saturday night, no one thinks he is the most popular.
UFC president Dana White addressed the issue recently and said he loves Barao, popularity takes time, and that English is not necessarily an impediment.
"Nobody was talking about Anderson Silva when Anderson Silva wasn't being called all the great things he's being called today. It took a long time. It took a long time for Chuck Liddell. These things don't happen over night."
"I hear he's not handsome enough, I hear he doesn't speak English. Listen, if you're showing up to see handsome guys speak on Saturday you're coming to the wrong f---ing show, okay?"
At a media event on Friday, Barao agreed that if he keeps winning popularity will follow, but noted he is coming to America to develop his English skills.
"English is very necessary," said the Nova Uniao protege through an interpreter, as transcribed by BloodyElbow. "So, it's in my plans to maybe move to America in the near future to try and learn some English."
Barao said he would do some training in the States, but emphasized that the purpose of the trip was to learn English. And like White, he cited time as the key to connect with fans.
"It's still my second defense, so I still have a long way ahead," said Barao. "If I continue with this track record, I'm going to be recognized and famous."
What do you think UG? Are you hoping to watch handsome guys speak on Saturday night?
A recent UG Poll was not definitive on the subject:
He doesn't speak English 18.06%
He is fighting in a lighter weight class 12.50%
He's not good looking enough 6.94%
He washes his clothes in the sink 4.17%
Some of the above 25.00%
All of the above 15.28%