Urijah Faber, after months of preparing for a rubber match with UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, is instead making final preparations for a fight with fellow contender Renan Barão.
Cruz had to pull out of the fight when he injured his ACL during training while he and Faber were coaching opposite each other on The Ultimate Fighter Live.
It’s well know that there is no love lost between Faber and Cruz, but that doesn’t mean that the California Kid was happy about the change in plans.
“I was very disappointed,” Faber stated recently.
“I feel for the guy. As much as we get on each other’s nerves there is a mutual respect there. We spent a lot of time together. We were so looking forward to ripping each other’s heads off; mostly me ripping his head off and him doing his thing.”
Faber, and now Cruz, have worked long and hard to help establish the 135-pound class in the UFC, finally giving lighter weight fighters a place to ply their trade at their natural weight instead of constantly having to compete in a higher weight class.
And Cruz vs. Faber III was poised to be the biggest little-man fight in the promotion’s history.
“It sucks for him, it sucks for me, because that’s a big fight,” said Faber.
“The bright side is, we’re gonna do it at some other point.”
Moving on to Barão in a battle for the interim bantamweight championship at UFC 149, however, Faber knows better than to expect a walkover.
Barão is 28-1, having lost only the first bout of his professional career. He’s undefeated in five fights under the Zuffa banner – counting both WEC and UFC bouts – defeating top contenders like Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen.
“This is the most dangerous fight in the UFC 135-pound division right now,” said Faber, believing that Barão, despite Faber’s loss to Cruz, is the much tougher style match-up.
We’ll find out come July 21 in Calgary, and then possibly, several months down the line, we’ll finally see Cruz vs. Faber III.