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Renan Barao: T.J. Dillashaw is 'not a champion -- he's a joker'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Renan Barao doesn't think T.J. Dillashaw is a good representative of the UFC bantamweight title.

The Brazilian former champ said  that he does not agree with how Dillashaw presents himself to the public or the way he talks to the media. Barao got in Dillashaw's face during their staredown and he explained why.

"I looked in his eyes just to tell him, 'I will kick your ass,'" Barao said through an interpreter in a recent media scrum. "I don't like him, because he talks a lot of sh*t. He's not a champion -- he's a joker."

Barao (33-2, 1 NC) will take on Dillashaw in a rematch in the main event of UFC on FOX 16 on July 25 in Chicago with the title on the line. Barao dropped the belt to Dillashaw at UFC 173 last May. The two were supposed to fight again at UFC 177 last August, but Barao hit his head coming out of a bath while cutting weight and had to pull out the day before. Dillashaw ended up defeating late fill-in Joe Soto in the main event of that card. Then, Dillashaw injured his rib when the two were supposed to meet at UFC 186 in March.

"T.J. Dillashaw had one defense of the title and he thinks he's the best champion in the world," Barao said.

Since then, Barao said he has cleaned up his diet and cutting weight is no longer a problem. Last December, he pulled off a third-round submission over Mitch Gagnon in Brazil. He was not supposed to get another title shot so quickly, but Dominick Cruz and Raphael Assuncao got injured.

"It's not a problem," Barao said of the weight cut to 135 pounds. "I changed my preparation. Now, I'm more thin. We have good foods. I'm OK with that."

Barao, 28, had won more than 30 straight fights before falling to Dillashaw and was regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Dillashaw rocked him in the first round of their bout and then finished him in the fifth. It was the biggest upset of 2014 and one of the largest from an odds standpoint in UFC history.

Dillashaw said after UFC 177 that he felt like he "mentally broke" Barao and that Barao did not want to fight him. He has kept up that level of talk for the last few months.

"He's too big for the weight class," Dillashaw said recently. "I'm going to force him to move up a weight class. I'm too fast for him."

Almost never in his career has Barao talked bad about his opponent, but it's clear Dillashaw, an outspoken fighter, has gotten under his skin. The Brazilian said he doesn't care what Dillashaw says about him, but his own words make one think otherwise.

"He said I'm not fast," Barao said. "He said I have problems cutting weight. It's my personal life. He's not a champion, because you have to concentrate on his career, not my career.

"I don't care about what T.J. says. I'm only focused to beat T.J. and the first focus is bring the belt back to Brazil."

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