UFC bantamweight contender Urijah Faber has been running through each and every opponent unless it’s a title fight. Problem is, he’s dropped five of those in a row. But the former WEC king is never far from another chance at gold, submitting Ivan Menjivar and Scott Jorgensen in his last two outings.
His trilogy match with Dominick Cruz was put on hold when the champ tore his knee last summer, which prompted an interim title bout against Renan Barao at UFC 149. Faber lost to the multi-talented Brazilian, and Barao continued his success by submitting Michael McDonald earlier this year.
News comes that now Barao is injured too, and his scheduled UFC 161 title defense against dark horse contender Eddie Wineland may be in serious jeopardy. This is where Faber comes in. While the UFC apparently has not stepped to ask Faber to fill in, the former champ is definitely willing to think it over should the chance arise:
"I just found out and from what it sounds like, we've got the champ injured and now the interim champ is hurt. This sucks. No one has reached out to me about filling in but if the opportunity comes knocking, I'll definitely consider it. I feel like in the rankings I'm number two, it's kinda like waiting to see what happens. If an opportunity comes take it. That's always been my mentality." –via MMA Mania
No surprise there that Faber is willing to step in and fight Wineland, a man he defeated once before at UFC 128 in 2011 . Wineland himself has been on somewhat of an impressive streak, winning two in a row over Jorgensen and Brad Pickett and six out of eight. However, a rematch between Faber and Wineland is not the title fight fans were expecting.
All said and done, the title picture at bantamweight is a hugely convoluted mess. Injuries keep spoiling the high-profile bouts, and it appears unknown when we will see Cruz face off with Barao to determine the true king, if ever. Faber may have a fight with Wineland, and if he wins, it will be hard to deny him yet another opportunity at the belt. However, while Faber remains a stalwart fixture in the division, will he truly deserve to face either Cruz or Barao? More on UFC 161’s main event as it develops.