Barao defeated Urijah Faber at UFC 149 on July 12, 2012, to capture the interim title. He was expecting to face champion Dominick Cruz to unify the belts, but Cruz suffered a setback in his recovery from knee surgery and was forced to withdraw from the bout.
Michael McDonald is who he faces now, but Barao doesn’t look at the fight any differently.
“It’s not a different fight for me. I’ve trained hard for this. All the fights I’ve had were important. The most important fight for me is the next one, so I’m here to give it my best,” said Barao at the UFC on Fuel TV 7 pre-fight press conference.
It will be the first time McDonald has fought in a title fight and his first time competing in England. Barao has done both, but doesn’t feel it gives him an advantage.
“I don’t feel I have an advantage over him because of this. I just feel that I’m really focused, 100-percent focused. I have to do my job,” he said.
Barao is expecting McDonald to be a tough fight and has prepared accordingly.
“I think this will be a great fight. Michael McDonald has been showing his work. He’s shown that he is a tough opponent and a fighter who moves forward. I think it will be a great fight and a tough fight,” Barao told UFC.com.
“I train with the best fighters in the world. I have the best in the world on my team and we all train really hard at Nova Uniao. I think it will be a war and I’m well prepared for everything. If I need to exchange, I’ll exchange. If I need to take down, I will take down. If I need to use jiu-jitsu, I will.”
Barao says this is the best training camp he’s had heading into a fight.
“I know this will be a great battle, a great fight.”