Not that it’s a surprise, but at least now it’s official.
Urijah Faber will get the next shot at Dominick Cruz and the UFC bantamweight title, to close out their historic trilogy.
Faber submitted former WEC champion Brian Bowles on Saturday night at UFC 139 to secure his place back at the top of the contender’s race, and UFC President Dana White made it official after the event.
“He’s it,” White said when asked about Cruz’s next title defense.
Faber and Cruz have had one of, if not the biggest rivalries to ever touch the former WEC weight classes. In their first fight in 2007, Faber put Cruz away with a slick guillotine choke when they battled for the WEC featherweight title.
Earlier this year at UFC 132, Cruz bested Faber in a five round war to even their series at one a piece.
Now with Faber’s victory over Bowles at UFC 139, he’s secured his place to get a rubber match with Cruz for all the marbles. Make no mistake, Faber wants to win the UFC bantamweight title, but he’s also out to prove that he’s a better fighter than Dominick Cruz.
“The belt’s one thing, but the other thing is people have the idea that Dominick’s the best guy out there. He’s not tougher than I am, I know that,” Faber said. “I don’t feel that he proved that he was, and I can’t wait to get in there and fight again for the belt and show everyone who the man is.”
One interesting idea that came up during the UFC 139 post fight press conference was when Dana White mentioned the 15th season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’, which will begin airing in March on FX.
Faber immediately chimed in and gave the UFC President a suggestion for the coaches.
“Let me and Dom coach the ‘Ultimate Fighter’,” Faber said.
White smiled and sounded like he might entertain the idea, although no decisions were obviously made tonight.
Faber came away unscathed in his fight with Bowles, but Cruz is currently on the sidelines nursing his hand after having surgery. The UFC’s reigning bantamweight champion will likely be on the shelf until at least January or February before he could get back into full training.
The timing may just be perfect for a March start date for the ‘Ultimate Fighter’, and then a title fight 13 weeks later.