Barao didn’t have the cardio to keep up’ with Jeremy Lil’ Heathen Stephens

UFC Fight Night 88 this past Sunday (May 29th, 2016) featured a barrage of upsets. One upset in particular was Renan Barao’s debut in the UFC featherweight division against No. 9 ranked Jeremy Stephens.

Stephens was more than happy to welcome the former UFC bantamweight champion to the 145-pound division.

The two men engaged in a three-round war that saw Stephens’ hand being raised in the end, as well as taking home Fight of the Night (FOTN) honors. While Stephens credited Barao for his toughness, he also believed he mentally broke the former champion.

“He’s pretty tough, he took a lot of big shots tonight, shots I put guys out with,” Stephens said in the post-fight press conference. “But yeah I feel like mentally I did break him in the Octagon, the game plan was to put it on him, go forward, pressure, pressure, pressure, and he didn’t have the cardio tonight to keep up.”

Stephens noted that the now-former 135-pound king T.J. Dillashaw was able to finish Barao twice in his bantamweight tenure, something the hard-hitting featherweight was unable to accomplish, despite badly hurting him multiple times in round 2.

“Yeah TJ Dillashaw, another great former champion, he just put it on him, didn’t allow himself to be bullied and utilizes a lot of swift techniques and he broke Barao,” Stephens said. “He was able to TKO him twice. I hit a lot harder and I wan’t able to knock him out or TKO him. It just goes to show that the true champion Barao is.”

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