by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com
Considered one of the best featherweight fighters in the world, Urijah Faber will defend his World Extreme Cagefighting 145-pound title tonight when he faces undefeated Dominic Cruz. In addition to being the WEC Featherweight Champion, the “California Kid” is also the 145-pound title holder in King of the Cage and Gladiator Challenge. Faber is coming off of a TKO victory over Joe Pearson at the first Zuffa-owned WEC show in January.
Bringing in NCAA division one wrestlers and fighters such as Charlie Valencia and Nick Diaz, Urijah has been training hard in preparation for the second defense of his WEC belt. “It’s been really great. I got my gym open in Sacramento and I’ve been bringing in all sorts of different guys to work out with me,” said Faber. “My body is feeling good and I’m ready to put on a show for sure. My training is focusing on improving my weakest points and trying to make them my strengths. I’m always trying to learn different things and add to my game.”
Tonight, the WEC Champion will face Dominic Cruz. Although he’s undefeated, Cruz has never faced a fighter the caliber of Faber. “I haven’t seen much. I don’t really know what to expect; I know he comes from a wrestling background and he’s not scared to fight,” said Faber regarding his opponent. “I’m expecting a battle and I look forward to that.”
With a record of 17-1, Faber has been one of the most dominant 145-pound fighters on U.S. soil. Recently, the California resident issued a challenge to Shooto and K-1 Hero’s star Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. “Of course, that’s the fight I want. People have this mystique about Japan and partially because of its big role in the fight game. To be honest with you, I don’t see anyone that he’s beat that I can’t beat. I’ve been working my striking in Muay Thai and boxing over the last couple of years. He’s about my size, he just wrestled at 132 [pounds] in freestyle. Walking around, we’re about the same size in person. I’m considered one of the best fighters in the world and so is he. I think it would be a great fight.”
“I know there are some tough guys out there. I’m ready for anyone. Only time will tell…,” added Faber.
Urijah was profiled in the first episode of MSNBC’s Warrior Nation. The show took a behind the scenes look at MMA and followed Faber’s preparation for his fight with Enoch Wilson. During the filming of the documentary series, Faber expressed his dislike of American fans who booed at fighters. The “California Kid” made some comments that garnered him some negative feedback. “I got a little bit of a reaction. Definitely, I love the American fans. Without them, we wouldn’t have jobs. I’m 100% against these guys booing everyone,” explained Faber. “I think it’s something that needs to change. Not that no one can ever boo but get educated about the sport. I don’t want to seem like I’m dissing the American fans but come on guys, you’re booing your boys. What’s up with that? Fans, I love you guys there but please don’t boo.”
Commonly ranked in the top five by many, Urijah Faber looks to prove why he’s one of the most dominate featherweights in the world. “I can’t speak for him but I know for sure I’m going to fight tooth and nail. It’s going to be exciting; I’m going to try and knock the guy out, I’m going to try to slam him; whatever opens up,” stated Faber confidently. “When I fight, it’s not a game, it’s for real. I’m friendly before and I’m friendly after but in the cage it’s a little bit of an insult to me that this guy thinks he can beat me.”
“It’s going to be fireworks. It’s going to be high-paced, explosive and exciting.”