Next Saturday night at UFC 199, Urijah Faber gets his fourth opportunity to fight for a UFC Championship. He’s been unsuccessful in his previous three chances, and he’s suffered losses in each of his last six title opportunities dating back to the WEC. However, he’s entering his third fight with Dominick Cruz wholly confident in his ability to win the UFC Bantamweight Title.
“I’ve had a lot of success in title fights because I’ve been a world champion for a lot of years and I’ve been a top contender my entire career,” Faber said this week (via MMAjunkie.com). “Individual fights there are a lot of things that can happen, there’s a story behind every fight. If you look at each time I’ve stepped into the Octagon there’s something that went down, something that’s unique. Every fight is going to be like that.
“This fight is another opportunity and it’s a testament to me continuing to improve and continue to stay on my game for over 13 years. The last time Dominick and I fought, it was a very close fight. If you watch the fight I didn’t have trouble catching him on the chin on multiple occasions. I plan on doing the same thing. This is a big opportunity and I’m going to seize the day.”
Faber’s has been a singular career, as there simply aren’t any other fighters who have continued to fight back into title bout after title bout when they fail to win any of them. It’s easy to understand why, as he’s won every other fight he’s had without a belt on the line with the exception of a move back to featherweight last year to face current top featherweight contender Frankie Edgar.
He’s got further confidence in himself in the last bout between the two of them from July of 2011. While Cruz wound up taking a decision, Faber had significant success in much of the fight, and had an argument for the decision himself. With that in mind, he doesn’t expect any surprises from Cruz in this bout.
“Against a guy like Dominick, if you have too much of a set gameplan you’re going to get frustrated,” Faber said. “Frustration can lead to dumb movements and stupid attempts and get you in trouble. I plan on putting on a lot of pressure and staying calm. I expect to see something similar to how he’s fought his entire career. He’s very good at what he does, but I haven’t seen a massive change in styles or anything. He’s going to continue to do the same stuff.”
Penick’s Analysis: For as much as the 37-year-old Faber isn’t the man who came close to beating Cruz nearly five years ago, it’s hard to know exactly what we’ll get out of Cruz either. He’s looked great in two returns from lengthy injury layoffs, and he’s always going to be one of the more cerebral and intelligent fighters to compete. He’s still got a speed edge on Faber, one that’s only going to have grown since their last meeting, but Faber can never be counted out of any fight. He’s a consummate competitor, and that’s what we’ll see next weekend in what should prove to be a close and entertaining fight.
[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]
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