Former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber has a well-documented feud with current UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz. However, that doesn’t mean that he holds onto all of the past bad blood. Faber returned to his winning ways by submitting Ivan Menjivar at last month’s UFC 157, and will face off with Scott Jorgensen at the TUF 17 finale in a quick turnaround.
Cruz, of course, has been sidelined by a vicious series of knee troubles. Renan Barao has obtained the interim title in a fight with Faber, and then defended it once by submitting Michael McDonald. This week, Faber spoke up to Sherdog Radio about Cruz’s unfortunate injury situation, and he even spoke up a bit on the champ’s behalf:
"I don't feel like he should be stripped of the belt. The guy's earned it. Part of the reason why he's injured is because he puts it all out there and hits like a weirdo, but he throws punches anyways. I wouldn't count the guy out. I don't think they should strip him of the title.... He's still, in my opinion, considered the champion. I don't think you strip a guy of the belt. I would be pissed if they stripped me of the belt."
Faber raises a serious argument in the discussion of Dominick Cruz’s title, one that he did earn with an impressive run. While he’s been on the injured list for quite some time now, no one has taken the title away from him.
‘The California Kid’s’ words are a reflection of the true class that Faber usually puts forth in his dealings with the media. While he and Cruz had talked a good amount of smack about each other as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, Faber stepped up to recognize who the true champ is.
Renan Barao will take on former WEC Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland at UFC 161. If he wins, it will be the first time an interim championship has ever been defended twice in the UFC. Hopefully Dominick Cruz can return sooner than later in order to set up a blockbuster bout with Barao to unify the belts.
Meanwhile, Urijah Faber will be waiting in the wings, fighting for another chance at the title belt that has eluded him for the past few years.