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Following UFC 149, Where Does Urijah Faber Stand?
By Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester
Urijah Faber may just have lost his last opportunity to fight for a title in the UFC. But then again, Faber is the lead pioneer for the lighter weight classes. Who is to say that with a couple of big wins that he could not get another opportunity to fight for a UFC title?
At UFC 149, the former WEC featherweight champion came up short against the tough Renan Barao for the UFC interim bantamweight championship. In a fight that was considered a chess match of technical prowess, Faber sustained a rib injury that could have hindered him from fighting to the best of his ability. With another title match loss, Faber has now gone 0-5 in title matches since he last defended his WEC bantamweight crown against Jens Pulver back in June 1, 2008.
Before that, Urijah Faber had a WEC record setting most consecutive and successful title defenses. Five title defenses was no small feat back in the WEC with tough opponents such as Dominick Cruz, Jeff Curran, and Jens Pulver. Since then he has not been able to obtain either a WEC (now defunct) or a UFC title.
So where does that leave Urijah Faber in a division full of hungry young lions? To hear him tell it, Faber considers himself still high in the rankings of the bantamweight division. Without taking anything away from “The California Kid”, he is very much correct. Faber could still sell pay-per-views and his name attached to the bill surely would help any card. It was his name that helped maintain a little credibility for UFC 149 despite all of the proposed matchups that were originally scheduled for the event at the Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada that had been changed due to injuries.
While the main card hardly delivered, Faber and Barao did the best they could in a match that was entertaining, just not as entertaining as it needed to be considering the NyQuil infused bouts that preceded the main event. Withholding another title match loss, Faber is still a huge draw in the lighter weight classes and any potential matchup will be intriguing to his huge fanbase.
But is he in Chael Sonnen territory now? Not really, but sort of. Faber fought UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz back in the WEC, he won that first matchup by submission. Their UFC 132 championship fight ended with Dominick Cruz retaining his title by decision, making them even at 1-1. So at least he is not 0-2 against Cruz like Sonnen is against Anderson Silva. But his money in the bank opportunities for title shots may have expired. Very few would agree that he should leapfrog over other worthy contenders again. At least this is an argument that Dominick Cruz has made on a number of occasions.
Although this may be true, the UFC and the fans would likely still want to see this matchup get put together at some point. The feud has been entertaining before and since their stint as opposite coaches on the Ultimate Fighter Season 15. Whether it’s a championship match or not, this rubber match is something people want to see, and at some point each fighter surely wants to be one the one that says, “You were just lucky when you defeated me that one time.”
So, this is something to keep in mind. Faber has only lost to current champions and former champions. There is a place for him in the Top 5 of the bantamweight division. Whether he becomes a full-time gatekeeper or contender (AGAIN), he is still formidable and will still play a huge part in the UFC bantamweight division for a while longer. So give him the Michael McDonald’s, or the Mike Easton’s of the bantamweight division, Faber will deliver. He’s a true fighter and despite what critics out there are saying… he’s not going anywhere.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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