Former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber has came up short in every one of his bids in the UFC, going 0-5 in the Octagon with gold on the line. But a surging 4-0 run in the UFC bantamweight division has Faber fighting for the title once again, this time at UFC 169 against former foe and current bantamweight champ Renan Barao.
Faber lost a rather slow-paced decision to Barao in the main event of UFC 149 in July 2012. Much of the loss could have been attributed to a broken rib suffered by Faber early in the bout, but “The California Kid” isn’t looking to make any excuses. He appeared on AXS TV’s “Inside MMA” to detail how the second fight with Barao will be different:
“It may have had something to do with the ribs, why it was such a slow-paced fight, but there wasn’t a ton of action. I wanna make sure this whole fight is super exciting and we’re both going for the kill and it’s not a slow-paced fight. I feel like Barao's done a great job, especially in his last couple of fights, of being the well-rounded fighter. You've seen him take the fight to the ground, use his wrestling, use his jiu-jitsu. Against me, he was able to slow the pace down, and I'm not going to let him do that this time."
That may be the correct strategy, but it could also get you knocked out against a fighter the caliber of Barao.
After former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz was forced out of his bout with Barao due to injury, Faber signed on to make a short turnaround to face Barao. He last fought just weeks ago at UFC on Fox 9 in his home of Sacramento, destroying touted prospect Michael McDonald with a second round guillotine choke. Barao also owns a submission win over McDonald, tapping him out with an impressive arm triangle at UF on Fuel TV 7 last year.
Faber has his work cut out for him against the bulldozing Barao, who was last seen defeating Eddie Wineland with a vicious spinning back kick at UFC 165 last September. Faber and Team Alpha Male as a whole have been benefitting greatly from the tutelage of head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig, running through competition left and right in 2013.
However, Barao is the toughest test Faber or any member of his team has faced in that span. The Brazilian champion currently sits with an unbelievable 32-fight unbeaten streak. Will “The California Kid’s” next chance at gold be the fight that snaps the streak?