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UFC 145 Results: Michael McDonald Should Be Brought Along On Opposite Path To Renan Barao

Somewhat glossed over at UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans is the fact that a new contender was born in Michael McDonald. He scored a huge knockout over Miguel Torres, a perennial title contender. It's huge, given that it was only Torres' fifth loss in his MMA career - out of 45 total fights. To contrast, that was just McDonald's 16th MMA fight ever. So yes, he's definitely in the title picture, especially in a somewhat thin Bantamweight Division.

As it stands, Dominick Cruz is the champion, and he's set to defend his title against Urijah Faber ... it will be the third time they've fought. Outside of Faber, the division is somewhat shallow, with contenders Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson dropping down to Flyweight. But there is definitely one fighter with a lot of potential outside of the aforementioned McDonald: Renan Barao.

Barao is set to fight Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148, and it "could" be to see who is the No. 1 contender, but with McDonald's huge knockout of Torres, some believe that McDonald could be fighting the winner of this fight instead. This writer believes that would be a mistake. If Barao is that close to a title shot (he should be ... a win over Menjivar on top of victories over Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen are sufficient), then let him have his fight.

And if he's not as close to a title shot? Then have them go on separate paths, regardless. This isn't quite like Jon Jones and Phil Davis or Ryan Bader - that division was stacked without them. Bantamweight isn't afforded that luxury. McDonald and Barao are both at a point where a loss wouldn't destroy their career, but it's also something that they certainly don't need right now.

More than that, the UFC doesn't need to cannibalize their contenders in a division that still hasn't "stuck" with fans of MMA. They should bring them along separate paths, and give McDonald someone else in the meantime to see where he's at while Faber tries to get through Cruz.