by Mick Hammond, MMAWeekly.com
Urijah Faber is one of the most talented up and coming fighters in the US. Few if any people that have seen him fight would doubt it. He’s garnished the admiration of such MMA stars as Randy Couture, and on the upcoming King of the Cage “Execution Day” PPV premiering on November 11th, he shows exactly why.
On the show, taped in Reno, NV on October 29th, Faber, the reigning 145lb KOTC Champion, defeated a very game, but overmatched, Shawn Bias to retain his title. Shortly after the win Urijah spoke with MMA Weekly to discuss the bout and what he has upcoming in his very bright future.
MMA Weekly: First off Urijah, tell us about the fight and what people can expect to see this weekend on the “Execution Day” PPV.
Urijah Faber: Well basically I felt like I was going to dominate the fight wherever it went, standing, on the ground, it’s kind of a good feeling. I just kind of went out there and threw a kick, which I’m not huge on kicks but I’m trying to implement them more, at Shawn and kind of missed, I slipped and kind of got taken down and I reversed it and we got in a scramble situation. I felt comfortable the whole time, I didn’t really break a sweat, I was never uneasy, he kept trying to take me down, I feel real comfortable when guys are trying to take me down, I’ve spent most of my athletic career defending that kind of thing. He pretty much just gave me an easy guillotine choke and neck crank at the same time early in the first round. It wasn’t too intense and I caught him quick, it was good because I have some big fights coming up and I wanted to make sure I didn’t get injured.
MMA Weekly: This was your first fight after losing your only match of your career in September to Tyson Griffin. How important was it for you to come out and have a good showing after the loss?
Urijah Faber: I felt like it was important. I mean I actually was coming off of an injury, the only injury of my career before that last fight and that was one I wanted to go out and actually feel like I performed well even though I was facing some adversity. In that fight I did a headslam into the head bar and ended up getting a big gash on my head and they let the fight go another couple rounds before I got caught with a pretty big punch in the third and the ref ended up stopping it. I felt like it was important to show that I really am healthy, even though it’s only been a month and a half, and bounce back and I feel like I dominated pretty much in every aspect of the fight. It feels really good to get another win and get that bad taste out of my mouth.
MMA Weekly: So now that you’ve gotten back on the winning track, what’s next for you before the end of the year?
Urijah Faber: I have a fight on December 10th against Crazy Horse (Charles Bennett), which will be a good fight for me. I think I match up really well with him, he’s got a good name in Pride right now, and mostly I think because of his gold teeth. I think it will be a good win for me and it’s going to put a close to my current contract with KOTC/Gladiator Challenge and put me in good position to renegotiate with them. That’s before the year is out and I’ll start out 2006 hopefully 10-1 and get ready to look into the future.
MMA Weekly: Is he coming down in weight or are you going up to 155lbs?
Urijah Faber: I’m going to go up and meet him. Basically I feel it’s a fight that I shouldn’t have a problem with and I don’t mind going up, it’s not like he’s a huge 155lb fighter in the first place. Some guys cut down from 180lbs plus to get down to 155lbs, but I feel that Crazy Horse is a little bit bigger than I am, but not too much. I should be able to make up for the difference in heart and skills.
MMA Weekly: What do you see for your future?
Urijah Faber: I basically feel like my stock is up right now as it should be, I’ve been training my butt off, I train more than the average MMA fighter and I have the best people surrounding me. I just want to establish myself as the best 145lb fighter in the world. Possibly put on some weight and compete at 155lb and make some good money, the money issues is basically what I want to do, I’ve made the commitment to be one of the top fighters and I want to get paid. If you look across the spectrum all the guys ranked as high as I am in their weight classes are making a lot more than I am. I feel like that I put on a good show and draw a crowd and I really want to be able to live comfortably as a professional fighter.
MMA Weekly: You mention the pay scale for fighters, being 145lbs do you think you’ll have to go to Japan to get the quality of fights and the paydays your skills warrant?
Urijah Faber: Yeah I’d love to go to Japan, I don’t feel I necessarily need to leave the US to get high caliber fights, but in order to get the recognition, respect, and money I want to get. I’m definitely going to be shooting to go to Japan, K-1 has been promoting my weight, they’ve had Alexandre “Penqeno” Nogueira, Rumina Sato at some of their Hero’s shows. I’d like to get my foot in the door over there. K-1 is the biggest thing; Pride Bushido is having some guys my weight as far putting them in spastically under the 160lbs weightclass. So until they actually breakdown and have lower weightclasses, I’m going to be kind of disadvantaged in Pride, but I’d still love to fight and be competitive with all those guys.
MMA Weekly: You’ve garnished a lot of support by people in the industry and have impressed just about everyone that you’ve fought in front of. How does it feel to be getting all the admiration you’ve received?
Urijah Faber: It does feel really good, I feel like I’m getting recognized more and more from people that otherwise wouldn’t be the case. I think again it has to do with my style of fighting, I feel like I’m a pretty marketable individual, a lot of sponsors are receptive to me and that’s important also. The more people that are behind you, the easier it is to make a name for yourself as far as that goes.
MMA Weekly: So basically if you’re fighting on a show, the people are going to get their money’s worth.
Urijah Faber: Exactly, they know if my name’s on the card they’re going to see intensity, speed, power, guys fighting until they’re ready to drop, either from defending themselves or from me do anything I can do to win. It’s going to be blood and guts out there, people like to see that, especially from a clean cut kid next door looking guy.
MMA Weekly: Thanks for taking the time out for the interview Urijah. Is there anything you’d like to say as we close this out?
Urijah Faber: I’d like to thank my sponsors first off. No Gi Industries, I wear their shorts every day, their gear is awesome, Skin Industries, they’ve been taking care of me of late, and Fairtex, who supplies me with all my gear. Also IkarosAlive.com, an up and coming clothing company that I’ve joined up with that’s really going to have big things in the future. All my training partners and UC Davis wrestling. To all the fans out there that want to see me fight, just know that the best is yet to come, you’ll see sparks fly in the Gladiator Challenge and I’ll bring in 2006 with a bang, it’s going to be a great year for me so keep watching.