Rising bantamweight Thomas Almeida eyes Urijah Faber bout, thinks it would be “great challenge” for career

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Thomas Almeida is on an excellent run in the UFC’s bantamweight division, and he wants to make a statement against one of the elder statesmen in the field in his next fight.

In an interview with Combate in Brazil, Almeida said he’d like to face Urijah Faber in his next bout, and hopes to continue proving himself after his third straight stoppage win in the Octagon earlier this month.

“I don’t choose very much, but I think Faber would be a great challenge in my career,” Almeida said (translated by Lucas Rezende at BloodyElbow.com). “He’s very good, he is famous and is good at wrestling. Many people say I haven’t proven myself yet, so hopefully that would shut them up and everyone would see how well trained and confident I am. I’m a big fan of Faber and he’s above me in the rankings.”

Almeida also discussed his currently undefeated record, and how he’s resigned himself to the fact that he is likely to eventually lose. Regardless of that reality in MMA, he says a UFC title is his goal no matter if or when that happens.

“I’m beginning to get noticed, so people want to make a name for themselves out of me. The guy who takes away my invincibility will be remembered. But I don’t think about that, I know defeat comes to every fighter. Nobody is unbeatable. My goal is to get the belt, losing or not, that’s my focus, nothing changes in my head.”

Penick’s Analysis: Almeida’s certainly in a spot to get a significant fight with serious exposure. A bout with Faber would be an entertaining fight and a serious challenge, but with Faber already booked for next month, it’s likely we see Almeida get a different booking next. Still, it’s a possibility, because Almeida and Faber are fighting just a month apart, so it would just require Almeida to wait an extra month to fight. If he’s up for that, and if the UFC likes the matchup, we may yet see it come together in early 2016.

[Photo (c) Jason Silva via USA Today Sports]

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