Urijah Faber has once again found himself on the precipice of winning a major title, albeit partly due to Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz vacating his title due to another injury. Renan Barao was set to welcome Cruz back from his two-year layoff, but a torn groin has forced ‘The Dominator’ to relinquish his belt.
So now ‘The California Kid’ and Barao battle it out for the vacant belt, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Faber after the year he had in the UFC. 2013 introduced us to an evolved version of Faber, a lot of which could be credited to Team Alpha Male and Duane Ludwig.
Faber stopped by to talk with Fox Sports to talk about his next title shot and the former Bantamweight boss:
"I'm the type of guy that feels like opportunities, they come you've got to take them because you never really know what's going to happen in this world as the tale is with Dominick (Cruz),"
"Dana called and when Dana calls you pick up, it's usually some sort of interesting news. So I knew something was up, So he calls and says 'here's the situation, Dominick Cruz is out, he ripped his groin and it's pretty serious' and just wanted to know if I could step up in three and a half weeks. I was like yep, let's do it. Took me about two seconds."
If anyone was going to get the shot, it was Faber. I just wonder if he has moved forward enough to overcome the interim kingpin Barao. ‘Baron’ has cleared out the division in Cruz’s absence, including a decision win over Faber at UFC 149 for the interim strap.
"I feel for the guy," Faber said about Cruz. "We don't really like each other, but we've had some communication throughout the years and I've talked to him about this and we still want to fight each other. There's no doubt, the guy's too stubborn not to get back on the horse and heal up eventually. I'll be cheering for him to heal up so I can punch him again."
The way I see it, Cruz could be back in the title picture by 2015 at best. That will total three years of absence from fighting for ‘The Dominator’, and Faber is showing his good nature by giving the troubled former champion respect. Will the game have changed too much by the time Cruz returns?
UFC 169 will play host to the crowning of a new Bantamweight Champion, but also noteworthy is that two champs have vacated belts in as many months. 2014 has been a very unpredictable year so far, and we’re only six days in!