by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
At first glance, Urijah Faber appears to be what one would consider the typical ‘Laguna Beach’ style California resident with his wavy blonde hair, board shorts and flip-flops…and to an extent he might be just that. After all, he has been given the nickname ‘The California Kid.’ But, once you get past his outgoing personality, warm smile and cordial hospitality, you’ll find a massively competitive man with a deep warrior spirit that is veiled just beneath his easy-going semblance.

Faber has chosen – at least for now – to be a professional fighter, and it’s obvious that he has selected a profession that he is quite good at. Currently, Urijah is (16-1) as a professional mixed-martial-artist and has held titles in such promotions as: King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge and the W.E.C.

Faber can now add “TV star” to his already thick list of accomplishments with the recent debut of MSNBC’s new four-part series titled “Warrior Nation.” In the first episode of the series, MSNBC’s cameras followed both Enoch Wilson and Urijah Faber to their homes, their gyms and their locker rooms to try to find out what life is like for a present day MMA fighter.

Faber said of this new series, “There are 80 million subscribers to MSNBC and their stations, so it’s going to reach a really, really large amount of people…a lot of people who I’m sure don’t know much about mixed martial arts. They really focused on myself and my opponent at that time who was Enoch Wilson, and kind of our backgrounds and kind of who we are from a ground level…you know, met our families and talked about our upbringings and stuff like that as well as starting to introduce a couple of other people who they’re going to start featuring in another three shows.”

Faber was under contract with the WFA, but since that organization went the way of the winds – for the 2nd time – Zuffa, the company that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship, purchased the WFA and the fighters’ contracts that went along with it. Though it has been unfortunate for a number of fighters that the WFA folded, Urijah is actually quite content with the way things are going in his life right now.

Faber said, “To be honest, I’m kind of happy that things fell through there [in the WFA] because I’m now under the Zuffa brand…with their marketing and their know-how in the fight business.”

Urijah’s next fight, which will be his first for the Zuffa organization, is scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 20, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Urijah will be fighting to retain his WEC Featherweight Belt against tough Miletich-trained fighter Joe Pearson. Faber doesn’t know a lot about his opponent, but what he does know of Joe helps him remember that Pearson is not a man to be overlooked.

Faber said, “I know that the Miletich camp out there has a great training system, so I know he’ll be prepared. He [Pearson] seems like a pretty athletic guy – he’s 5’10” and he comes to fight, so I’m excited about it.”

Urijah continued, “I’m ready to mix it up…I was looking to fight in December with the WFA and it never happened so I’ve been itching to get in there and throw some punches and be able to unload on someone…it’s going to be exciting. I’m going to go 100 M.P.H. and I think he’s got the same attitude. He’s (17-7) and he’s coming off of a seven-win winning streak…I don’t think he’s going to be scared to mix it up, and neither am I.”

It seems like 2007 has all of the makings to be a great year for Faber, but also for the MMA community in general. With so many new organizations stepping up like the WEC and the IFL – who holds shows all over the country – it appears that 2007 could be a dream year for both the Midwestern and the East-Coast fans who have far fewer opportunities to see a good MMA show than do their friends west of the Mississippi.

Also, with new shows like MSNBC’s “Warrior Nation,” as well as Showtime’s deal to air Elite XC shows starting on February 10th, MMA should continue to be on the rise in the coming year.

Good for us.