A LONGTIME RIVAL WITH SOME PRAISE FOR A PIONEER
With longtime perennial contender Urijah Faber retiring after his bout tonight with Brad Pickett, an old rival has voiced his opinion on Faber’s legacy. Speaking on an episode of the MMA Hour, Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz discussed Faber’s future in the fight game and admitted he wasn’t surprised when he found out he’d be retiring.
“I think it’s a good thing for him,” Cruz said. “Honestly, he’s going to be a great manager. He’s already a great manager. He’s been a great manager to these guys for how long? Dressing them out in Torque. He’s been making money on his team since this thing started while he fought, so finally he’s going to get out of the fight game and just make money wholly on these fighters that he promotes.”
Cruz praised Faber’s business acumen and believes he will be very successful in promoting fighters full time after tonight. “He’s got Cody (Garbrandt) wearing Urijah Faber shirts everywhere he goes, and so it’s a genius move on his part because he’s leaving the sport, he’s still making prize money, but then he’s still managing fighters, so he gets a cut of their purse because he’s got stock in the management company that manages all of these fighters in a lump sum, including himself,” he said. “He’s a businessman. That’s what he does. He’s almost a promoter, but he just was fighting so he couldn’t quite do it. If he could run his own show, he would. I think this is a good move for him.”
Cruz also acknowledged Faber’s impact on the lighter weight classes in MMA and recognizes that Faber was a pioneer during the infancy of the sport. “To be perfectly honest, the guy started this sport in the lighter weight class,” Cruz said. “When I first started this thing, there was only 155-pounders and up. Without him, without a star, an early star in the early days in this sport, the lighter weight classes might not have been made. That’s the truth.”
Although their rivalry has extended nearly a decade, Cruz assures everyone that there are no hard feelings, that he remains grateful for Faber’s contributions to the sport, and wishes him well in retirement. “I’m appreciative for Urijah Faber,” Cruz admitted. “I’m appreciative for the rivalry. I’m appreciative for the fights that I have with that man. I’m going to look back in time and be glad that we fought like we did and said the things that we did about each other, and I’m happy for his future. And that whole thing with me and him is completely buried. Like, I couldn’t be happier that chapter of my life is done, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Faber is currently ranked 7th in the UFC Bantamweight division and looks to earn his 34th career victory in tonight’s bout.
Cervantes Analysis: Faber definitely was a pioneer for the lower classes before the UFC absorbed the WEC and created classes below lightweight. He has been a top ten contender for the entire duration of his career and his rivalry with Cruz made for entertaining and exciting matches every time they met. It’s great to see Cruz recognizing the impact Faber has had and that they have buried the hatchet. Faber has had an incredible fight career and will no doubt have an excellent career as a coach and promoter and we wish him all the best in his retirement as well.
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