Barao (33-3, 1 NC) won the 135-pound title by defeating Urijah Faber at UFC 149 in 2012. He defended the belt three times before losing it to T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 173. The 29-year-old Brazilian hopes to make a run at the 145-pound belt currently held by Conor McGregor, but he must first start by defeating Stephens.
Stephens (24-12) made his featherweight debut at UFC 160 in 2013. He reeled off three consecutive wins after dropping down from the 155-pound weight class, but has lost three of his last four outings to the competition at the top of the division. Stephens hopes to get back in the win column when he faces the former champion in May.
The two are expected to meet on the yet to be announced UFC Fight Night 88 fight card, which doesn’t yet have an announce location or venue.