Urijah Faber talks about his next opponent, focuses on winning the Bantamweight title
The recent fight between TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz for the UFC Bantamweight championship had several implications.
Cruz, who suffered career-threatening injuries before making a successful return to the Octagon once again used his immaculate footwork and put on a clinic, using his range to his advantage to outpoint TJ, and in the process became the new UFC Bantamweight champion.
One man who knows both the fighters fairly well is none other than the veteran inside the Octagon, Urijah Faber.
The “California Kid” was the first and only fighter to have handed Cruz a loss in his professional career, and was responsible for giving TJ his big break in the sport. However, with TJ leaving Faber’s camp -- Team Alpha Male for his new training camp -- Elevation Fight Team, the fans have for long been calling for a fight between the two former teammates.
Urijah himself is coming off of a victory back in December, and with the prospect of either fighting TJ in a highly anticipated bout or Dominick Cruz in a rubber match, the former WEC Featherweight champion is keeping his options open.
“I think at this point in time, it makes more sense to fight TJ”, Faber told us in an exclusive interview. “But both the fights excite me; me and Cruz have a long history and TJ and I have a long history. It’s different; I think there’s more tension with the TJ fight right now.”
Faber has a lot of options to consider, as the current number 3 ranked fighter in the 135 division also moves up quite regularly to fight in the featherweight division. Any fighter, who is currently fighting at 145 or 155 is talking about being matched up with one fighter in particular – the current UFC Featherweight champion, Conor McGregor.
As such, Urijah and Conor were the two coaches in the previous edition of The Ultimate Fighter, and the two fighters were often seen taking verbal jabs at each other. Urijah for one is certainly interested in fighting the Irishman.
“Well, you never know”, Faber told us regarding a possible fight with Conor down the line. “Actually, we got along pretty well during the show. We gave each other a lot of sh*t, and we had fun with it. I’m always down for a great fight; no animosity, but I think it’ll be interesting," Faber said.
He added, "We’ll see what happens; as I said, he’s moving up to 155 and I know how hard the cut is for me at 135, and I think he has the same cut if not more at 145. So I have bigger challenges at 135 before I even think about anything else, and I’ll go from there.”
With an MMA record of 33 wins and 8 losses in the past 13 years, Faber is one of the most respected veterans in the fight game today. However, the California Kid has never won the gold in the UFC, something he hopes of achieving before he hangs up his boots.
“To get the belt, to be a two-division champion and go down as one of the greatest”, Faber told us regarding what he wants to achieve before calling it a career.
However, unlike other fighters who’re solely invested in their professional career, Faber has a long list of things he wants to accomplish outside the Octagon.
Faber opened up about a possible career post-MMA and said, “After calling it a career – I got a lot of ambitions. I’ve already put my foot in the door on a couple of things; I like the entertainment world, I have a real estate which is one of my big passions. So, my dad’s a contractor and we have projects going on all the time. And then it’s business as usual in the gym, where I mentor some of the young guys coming up. To create some of the next stars and help in management, and help with anything involved with the sport. So, I got my hands full, but I’m going to focus on this (fighting) career first.”
Faber has been actively fighting at 135 and 145, and as such, is a relatively bigger bantamweight than most of the other fighters.
Talking about the recent IV ban in the UFC and how it has impacted him, Faber said, “I think it’s fine. It doesn’t make life easier, but I had done the cut without the IV, and my guy George Lockhart did a great job with that. And I put on about the same amount of weight and I actually felt a little bit better through this process.
I don’t know if I would’ve felt better with the IV or not – you can say that on an individual basis, but you find a way. Too many make excuses and find excuses, but IV is not an excuse for me.”
Last but not least, Faber expressed his gratitude for his fans in India. “We got Vivek (Ranadive) here in Sacramento, and he is a great guy and he takes a lot of pride in representing his country, and I know him. So I want to say thank you to India, and I hope you enjoy my career. And maybe you could see a fight live someday, that’d be great, to fight in India.
I have not been to India. I’ve had a chance to travel around the world, and India is definitely on the list. It’s such an amazing place.”
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