Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz have never been fans of one another, but their professional rivalry effectively came to an end on Saturday night at UFC 199 when Cruz won the rubber match in decisive fashion.
The feud dates back nine years to their first meeting under the WEC banner, a fight which a prime Faber won by submission in just 98 seconds. Now 37, Faber’s lost several steps to Cruz, and now that he’s lost two fights to the man over a five year span, he’s ready to leave the ill will behind him.
“Yeah, I don’t mind [burying the hatchet],” Faber said after the event (via MMAJunkie.com). “It’s been an interesting relationship throughout the years. We’ve been locked in PR arrangements where we’ve had to work as a team. We’ve had to share the disappointments of injuries and missed opportunities. There’s been a lot of getting to know each other.
“I feel like he’s grown up a lot since the original days of me thinking he was just a punk. I think he’s grown up a lot and has gotten better as a fighter, as well. The truth is, though, our team is full of killers. So, there’s always going to be that rivalry there. I feel like we’ve made up at points for, like, a day, and then it just goes right back to some negativity. Who knows what’s going to happen in the future. But Dom is ok.”
Penick’s Analysis: Faber had no choice but to be humbled by how Saturday’s fight played out. In the second fight, Faber knocked Cruz down several times and had an argument for the decision, a reality that ate away at him and certainly fueled the rivalry further. On Saturday, Cruz knocked him down multiple times, completely out-worked him, shut him down, and took the clear decision. There’s nothing left there to keep things going. Faber doesn’t have any spot from which to throw any more trash talk towards Cruz, so there’s no sense in him trying at this point.
[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]
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