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Andre Pederneiras discusses what’s next for Renan Barao, Claudia Gadelha

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Two of the top fighters from Nova Uniao are waiting for their next steps in the UFC.

A former bantamweight champion, Renan Barao has suffered another defeat to current titleholder T.J. Dillashaw, going 0-2 in his last championship fights. Featherweight champ Jose Aldo and UFC president Dana White already stated they want Barao at 145 pounds, and the fighter recently said that’s what he expects for his future.

Not so fast, says Nova Uniao leader Andre Pederneiras.

"Barao moving up or not depends on some factors that I can’t say right now," Pederneiras told the media in Brazil. "Is there a possibility? Yes. But there’s also a possibility of him staying. We’re studying several things that are happening, and we’ll wait to see."

With two losses to the current champion, Barao could stay at 135 pounds if Dominick Cruz regains the UFC belt when he faces Dillashaw on Jan. 17. However, the fact that Barao won’t be allowed to use IVs to rehydrate after the weigh-ins could be a huge issue.

"That’s one factor that can force him to move up in weight," Pederneiras said. "That’s one factor, and we’re studying that."

While Barao tries to figure out his next step, Claudia Gadelha returns to training hoping for the best.

The strawweight contender was expected to face UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, but saw Valerie Letourneau get the title shot at UFC 193 after Gadelha injured her hand during a unanimous decision win over Jessica Aguilar at UFC 190.

"Claudinha just returned from the United States," said Pederneiras. "She took two weeks off there, and we’re getting her back to training now. The doctor has cleared her to do some things already."

With Letourneau facing Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha sitting on the sidelines, Nova Uniao still treats her as the next title contender.

"If not now, it’s going to be next year," Pederneiras said of Gadelha’s return to the Octagon. "She’s the next contender."

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