Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting
Renan Barao is once again scheduled to make his MMA return.
The former UFC bantamweight champion is set to face William Gomis in a featherweight bout at ARES FC 7 on June 25 in Paris. The promotion announced the matchup Tuesday via Instagram. If it happens, the fight will be Barao’s first since his release from the UFC in 2019.
Barao (34-9, 1 NC) has seemingly been snakebitten in recent years with his attempts to mount an MMA comeback. The 35-year-old Brazilian has seen three previous bookings fall through since his exit from the UFC, including a proposed bout this past January against Horacio Gutierrez at Eagle FC 44 that ultimately wound up getting cancelled.
At one time, Barao was considered to be among the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He rode an impressive 33-fight unbeaten streak all the way to capturing and defending the UFC bantamweight title before a 2014 upset loss to T.J. Dillashaw sent him into a career tailspin. Barao ended his UFC career on a five-fight losing streak and is just 2-8 since his first meeting with Dillashaw. He also struggled with missing weight multiple times during the latter half of his UFC run, which ultimately prompted his move to 145 pounds.
His opponent Gomis, a 24-year-old French prospect known as “The Jaguar,” has won eight consecutive bouts and has notched five finishes during his current streak.