Urijah Faber’s quest to conquer the bantamweight division begins on Nov. 11 against top ten ranked Takeya Mizugaki at The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas. He expects to finish the notoriously tough Japanese fighter inside the fight’s allotted 15 minutes.
Faber and Mizugaki were first scheduled to face off at WEC 50 on Aug. 18, but a knee injury forced Faber out of the bout. Instead of finding a replacement to fill in for Faber, the promotion opted to reschedule the match up to headline WEC 52.
Faber spoke with MMAWeekly Radio about the knee injury, the postponement of the bout, and his recovery.
“It was severe enough to where I was forced to be out, but it was a six week recovery. I didn’t have to have surgery,” said Faber of the injury. “It was lucky that I didn’t have to do surgery. It was kind of a unique little injury, but I’m all good now.”
“The California Kid” was craving to get back in the cage and ardent to make his 135-pound debut, but took the setback in stride.
“I was excited to get back in. I was feeling amazing with my training regiment and getting the weight down and stuff like that,” said Faber. “Basically I was eager to get back in there, but it’s all good. Those things happen.”
The Alpha Male trained fighter expects an exciting fight and noted he and his opponent both wanted the match-up.
“I think it’s a good fight for me and I think Mizugaki wanted the fight also, so that’s always good because it’s nice to have someone that’s eager to fight me as well,” he said. “It makes for a very exciting fight.”
Discussing his opponent, Faber classified Mizugaki as tough, technical, and hard to finish.
“He’s a really tough dude. He’s pretty technical too. Even though he has a long reach he still keeps his arms in real tight. He’s always trying to throw power punches, body shots to power punches up top. He’s got some good grappling. He’s got some upper body stuff that’s pretty good,” stated Faber.
“He seems to stay out of jiu-jitsu pretty good. He doesn’t like to be on bottom. He likes to be on top. He’s a well-rounded fighter, but more than anything he’s just got that fighting spirit, so it’s going to be a good fight.”
Mizugaki has only been finished one time in his professional mixed martial arts career, but Faber considers himself a “finisher.”
“I know he’s going to try to stick around for the full 15 minutes. I’ve faced a lot of guys and finished that don’t get finished very often. I’d have to go back and look who exactly, but it’s quite a few,” said Faber. “Yeah, he’s going to stay there as long as he can, and if that’s 15 minutes then so be it, but I’m trying to take him out.
“I’m a finisher,” he added. “I was the first guy to submit Jeff Curran and I think Raphael Assuncao was in that same category, Dominick Cruz, and a couple of other ones. Those are all tough guys and I finished them. I’m a finisher, dude. I go in for the kill.”