After destroying number three-ranked Michael McDonald at UFC on Fox 9, UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber is on the verge of yet another title shot. “The California Kid” put forth a winning effort for his Team Alpha Male at the Sacramento show, telling MMA Junkie Radio that fighting near his hometown was a special experience:

“Everywhere I looked, I felt like I saw somebody I knew, so that was pretty cool. There’s emotions involved, but there are always emotions involved. I always enjoy the camaraderie of all the guys warming up together. It was an us-vs.-them mentality. The closest communities in the world understand who their enemies are. We had that opportunity, and that always helps, in my opinion.”

Faber is calm and collected as always, not letting the ups and downs of fighting get to him too much. That’s a good mentality for him because the decorated former WEC champ has lost five consecutive title bouts.

That’s a trying test for even the most mentally strong of fighters.

He’ll have a chance to redeem those losses soon as there’s not much else he can do but fight for the belt. Faber will await the winner of UFC 169’s pivotal Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao bout, but he’s in no hurry to rush back into the Octagon:

“I’d like to take some time off and see what happens with these two guys. I like Barao (to win the fight), but I want to beat up Cruz. So it’s a mix there. It didn’t happen (with Cruz and I) after ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ It cost us both a lot of money.”

A fight with either Cruz or Barao is an attractive proposition, so it’s kind of a win-win for Faber. He’s established a trend of destroying all competition save for champions, but his overall legacy may just rest on the outcome of his next bout.

A win will put Faber amongst the best MMA fighters of all-time after his lengthy run as WEC champion. A loss, however, will have Faber in the unenviable position of being an ultra-popular combatant who failed in the face of truly top-level opposition.

It’s doubtful that “The California Kid” needs the money he lost by not fighting Cruz for a third time. But he may just need the victory to go down as a legitimate legend.

He’s lost a decision to both Cruz and Barao in recent years. Will he beat either one?