Barao, 27, hasn't lost in any of his eight fights under the Zuffa umbrella. He has defeated several top contenders in the UFC's 135-pound division, including Eddie Wineland, Michael McDonald and even Faber.
The UFC 169 main event is a rematch from the summer of 2012, when Barao defeated Faber via unanimous decision.
Faber, 34, racked up four straight wins since his first fight against Barao.
“It was definitely unexpected. It was three and a half weeks before the fight. I was looking forward to watching Cruz and Barão do battle. I was actually going to do the commentary on Fox,” said Faber of recieving the opportunity to fight the Brazilian on short notice. “I was going to be involved one way or another. Might as well be in the mix.”
Faber knows what skillset Barao has because he already fought him once.
“He’s one of the most skilled guys I’ve faced. He’s very well rounded. He’s a guy that is not only an athlete, but has put in the time for years and years. He’s part of a great team with some great coaches, so he’s pretty high up there,” Faber said of Barao. “He’s the current world champion and this is the best that mixed martial has ever been.”
The UFC 169 co-main features featherweight champ Jose Aldo against Ricardo Lamas.
Aldo, 27, is 23-1 overall, including wins over Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes. As for Lamas, the 31-year-old is on a four-fight win streak.
If Aldo wins, he hinted that he may turn his attention to a new weight class to battle Anthony Pettis.
“Everybody is talking about that,” Aldo told ESPN.com. “It’s not up to me. Whatever they decide, I will be ready.
“You never know [what Pederneiras will say]. I’ve been waiting for this permission for a long time. I hope this time, he will allow me to go up.”
In other UFC 169 main card action, former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir takes on Alistair Overeem and Jamie Varner battles Abel Trujillo.
“We put together a fight worthy of Super Bowl weekend," UFC president Dana White said. “It's the fight that everyone has been waiting for - champion vs. champion - [Urijah Faber] vs. Renan Barao for the 135-pound title.
"Two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, two of the best 135-pounders on earth: the world is finally going to find out who is the undisputed 135-pound champion!
“Plus, the unstoppable Jose Aldo takes on the man everyone has been waiting to see him fight, Ricardo Lamas. Aldo has been the 145-pound champion since 2009 and he’s torn through the featherweight division. But Ricardo Lamas has heavy hands, great wrestling and will be the toughest test of Aldo's career.”
Here's a look at the full UFC 169 card:
- Renan Barao (135) vs. Urijah Faber (134.5)
- Jose Aldo (145) vs. Ricardo Lamas (144.5)
- Alistair Overeem (257) vs. Frank Mir (256.5)
- John Lineker (126) vs. Ali Bagautinov (126)
- Jamie Varner (156) vs. Abel Trujillo (155.5)
- John Makdessi (155) vs. Alan Patrick Silva Alves (155.5)
- Chris Cariaso (125) vs. Danny Martinez (125.5)
- Nick Catone (185.5) vs. Tom Watson (185.5)
- Al Iaquinta (155) vs. Kevin Lee (155.5)
- Clint Hester (185.5) vs. Andy Enz (184.5)
- Tony Martin (155.5) vs. Rashid Magomedov (155)
Neil Magny (170.25) vs. Gasan Umalatov (170)