White: For all intents and purposes, Renan Barao is the real champion
As of today UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has not fought in two years, a unanimous decision over Demetrious Johnson.
Cruz then suffered a series of injuries and operations, while Renan Barao won five in a row, including the two defenses of the UFC Interim bantamweight championship.
At the UFC World Tour stop in Rio de Janeiro recently, UFC president said that
“Renan Barao is a champion,” said White. “If you look at Renan Barao and what he has done, he’s beaten everybody that Dominick Cruz would be fighting if Dominick Cruz was healthy and was the champion. So, [the interim label] takes nothing away from [Barao], other than just that pin, that place holder until Dominick Cruz comes back.
“But for all intents and purposes, Renan Barao is the real champion. He’s the one that’s beating the guys that need to be beaten.”
If Cruz does not return by early 2014, White will in his words “have to make a decision.”