Urijah Faber has a grudge to settle, but it’s not against his opponent at UFC 139, Brian Bowles.
Actually, Bowles is a nice enough guy who has never said a bad thing about Faber, but he’s the road block standing in the way of the “California Kid” getting another crack at longtime rival Dominick Cruz.
Faber face Bowles in a de facto No. 1 contender’s bout at UFC 139, where the winner is almost certain to get the next crack at Cruz’s bantamweight title in 2012. Faber has faced Cruz twice already and currently the series is tied at one fight a piece, although the former WEC featherweight champion believes he should be up 2-0.
“In my head when the fight was over I thought I won,” Faber told MMAWeekly Radio. “So having the disappointment of having someone else’s opinion take that away from you, and then going back and watching it was a real close fight, especially with the volume on. With the volume off and you didn’t hear the commentary, I felt like it was my fight. I think I could have won four of those rounds.”
Listening to the commentary during the fight, Faber believes that Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan were a bit one-sided in how they described things, and while he holds nothing against them for doing their jobs and building up a champion like Dominick Cruz, the talk didn’t match the action in his mind.
“Those guys have a job to entertain and introduce people to the fans, and a lot of people know who I am. They’re talking about ‘oh my gosh, look at that footwork’ before the fight even started. His footwork didn’t even bother me. I hit him plenty of times,” said Faber.
“It wasn’t like I couldn’t catch him. I caught him three times and sent him to the mat a couple of times. It’s like alright guys, you’re all my buddies, but enough with the play by play on his footwork, which wasn’t doing much.”
There’s really no hiding Faber’s desire to get back into another fight with Cruz. The two bantamweights put on one of the best fights of the year back in July with a close decision falling Cruz’s way.
Faber and Cruz have also had a long standing feud where simply put they just don’t like each other. The tension between the two did seem to die down after their rematch in July, but Faber says that while in the cage it’s all business, it’s not like he and Cruz will be considered friends any time soon.
“I think there’s a little animosity there,” said Faber. “The guy’s the champion right now and I’m the guy who’s up next as long as I win this fight to take this from him. So we’re basically trying to ruin each other’s worlds. You fight guys that are your friends on occasion, but this is a guy who’s not my friend. There’s a lot at stake. That kind of equates to an enemy.”
Friends or enemies, Faber and Cruz did get some time to chat with one another recently at UFC 136 in Houston. Whether it was on purpose or by accident, Faber’s seat just happened to be right next to Cruz in the audience so they got to enjoy the show together, and even managed to pass a few barbs along the way.
“Dominick and I had to sit next to each other at the last fight,” Faber revealed. “We’re cordial but it’s definitely a bunch of stabs in there. He was talking about someone laying on someone else and not doing any damage, and I said ‘well I know how that feels, buddy.’ He’s got a good sense of humor, we were having fun, but that’s a fight I definitely want again for sure.”
To get another shot at Cruz, Faber first has to conquer the task in front of him in the form of former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles.
Bowles has only tasted defeat once in his career and it was a loss to Dominick Cruz, where he broke his hand and after the second round was unable to continue. Faber sees Bowles as a legitimate threat to his goal of getting back to another title shot, but he’s not going to let anybody stand in his way.
Not Brian Bowles, not anybody.
“He’s pretty good, but I’m very good and that’s going to be the difference,” Faber said about Bowles. “Had I got the nod in that decision against Dominick Cruz, I’d be one of the best pound-for-pound in the world and a multiple weight champion and things like that. I know what top caliber athletes and competitors are all about, and I just have to go in there and prove it.”
Faber will get his chance in just a few days and if victorious don’t be surprised if he mentions Dominick Cruz’s name after the fight is over.