by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
Just a few short days before his upcoming King of the Cage fight with Bibiano Fernandez, Urijah Faber stole some time away from his busy schedule and spoke with MMAWeekly’s SoundOff Radio crew about a number of interesting topics.
Faber is known by many avid MMA fans to be one of the ‘top dogs’ in the 145-pound weight class. Faber holds titles in multiple organizations such as: King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge and W.E.C. Urijah has bulldozed through every fighter put in front of him, save one, current UFC fighter Tyson Griffin.
Saturday night, Faber will face tough Brazilian “phenom” Bibiano Fernandez in a Bantamweight title fight. Although Faber doesn’t know much about his opponent, he does know that Fernandez is a Jiu-Jitsu wizard, and he expects Bibiano to come geared up and eager for a fight.
Faber said of Fernandez, “Well, you know, he’s kind of a mystery to me as far as mixed martial arts goes, but I know he’s had at least one fight in Brazil in ‘Jungle Fight’ and he’s (1-0). I’m not sure that he’s had any more than that, but I’ve seen some tapes on his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and he’s like a phenom over in Brazil for his Jiu-Jitsu. He’s a five-time world champion, which is pretty rare I think, and he’s obviously a great athlete and a disciplined athlete, so I can only imagine that he’s coming prepared.”
Assuming that he is not injured Saturday night to the point that he couldn’t compete again in a couple of months, Faber has already worked out plans with the WFA to fight on their December card.
“I will be fighting December 9. I believe it’s at the Aladdin in Las Vegas…it’s supposed to be a great card. I know Heath Herring signed, and Quinton will be on there…I think Marvin ‘The Beastman’ Eastman will be on there, along with a bunch of other great guys, so it’s going to be cool,” Faber said.
On whom his opponent may be, Faber said, “It’s rumored that I’m going to be fighting another Brazilian guy, Fabio Mello, who has fought in Pride. I think he lost to Gomi over there in Pride, he’s a Muay Thai/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu mix…I think that Fabiano Iha was thrown out there also, but I’m not exactly sure yet…I think it may be Mello; Fabio Mello.”
Faber also commented further on the WFA, UFC, and what entices him to choose to fight in a particular organization.
“I think what’s happening with the sport is great; it’s going out to the highest bidder. If the money’s there, then that’s where I’m going to be. UFC is tending to offer some pretty crappy contracts to guys that are just coming in, so I’m going to go where the money is at right now. Hopefully the WFA does well. They should; they’re bringing a lot of great talent, and they’re putting on great shows. Hopefully it will be a place where I can stay. They [the WFA] need to make money to keep putting out these great shows, so right now I have three fights with them…I think that they’re going to do well, and if not I’ll go to the highest bidder,” Faber said.
Faber also commented on which weight class he feels gives him the best opportunity for success, and he toyed with the thought of moving up to 155.
Faber said, “Most of the guys I train with are about 175…between 165 and 180, and I do great against those guys, but really it just comes down to giving myself the advantage to win.”
Urijah continued, “I walk around at about 148 to 152, and I wrestled in college at 133…so basically, I would fight at 155, but they have to make it worth my while. I’d probably be giving up 25-30 pounds to a good-sized ‘55-pounder…I’m sure I’ll be fighting ‘55′s in the near future, but the way the sport is going 145′s are making a run at it. I know that a lot of 145-pounders have been biting the bullet and going up to 155, but hopefully there will be place for us to stay at 145. If you look at boxing and the promotions there, ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd, Zab Judah, Spinx…all those guys are ‘45-pounders and they’re the main draws. I don’t see why MMA can’t make it happen as well.”
Faber is by no means looking past his opponent for this weekend, but when asked if he would like a rematch with current UFC fighter Tyson Griffin, Faber was adamant.
“Heck yeah, man. I’ve wanted to fight Tyson ever since our first fight. I’m sure you’ve heard…we had a great fight, but eight seconds into that fight I did a head plant into some steel, busted my head open, and ended up getting seven staples after the fight. They continued the fight, and not to take anything away from him – we both fought hard – I just wasn’t able to give my best performance, but I’ve been trying to get that fight ever since it ended. I’m glad he’s winning and doing well…it will make for a good payday in the end here. I’m sure that will happen in the near future…if not in the near future, then before my career is over for sure. I’d love to fight him again,” Faber said.
What can fans expect to see when Urijah steps back into the cage this weekend?
“100 percent of me trying to rip this guys head off. He’s probably going to try to submit me. I’m going to be trying to punch him and kick him in the face and slam him and all that good stuff, but I think uh…it’s scheduled for five [rounds], hopefully it won’t go the distance. I’m looking to make some fireworks, and to keep building up my name,” Faber said.