Former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber has had a highly successful run at bantamweight in the UFC, falling short only to decorated champions Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz while finishing six of his eight total opponents in the Octagon.
But “The California Kid” recently got an opportunity he simply couldn’t refuse when the UFC asked him to move back up to 145 pounds in order to take on former lightweight champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar in the main event of the UFC’s Filipino debut from Manila on May 16.
Faber has the chance to potentially turn the deep and buzzing featherweight division upside down if he can deny Edgar a perceived shot at the winner of July 11’s blockbuster UFC 189 showdown between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor, something that gives their bout pivotal ramifications for arguably the UFC’s hottest class.
He recently told MMA Junkie’s Brent Bookhouse that he’s back at featherweight for the big fights available there, and although he currently has no plans to stay permanently, beating Edgar could certainly change that:
“This is a big fight, so I want to do the big fights. I came up specifically for this fight. That doesn’t mean if I get some big opportunities up at 45 I won’t stick around up there. It just kind of depends on the opportunities. I plan on getting a big win here so I think that’s going to shake things up quite a bit.”
In order to accomplish just that, Faber knows he’s going to have to put on a bit of size to contend with Edgar, who ruled over the division above featherweight at one point. “The California Kid” said that at 35 years old, he’s actually bigger than he’s ever been in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career:
“It’s been a while for me, so I’m not 100 percent sure how I’m going to feel,” Faber said. “But in practice I feel a lot bigger, a lot stronger. Getting older as a fighter I think I’ve definitely gotten a little bit bigger, which is funny because I weigh more now than I did when I used to fight at 145. I’ve hit as high as 166 pounds on the weekend during this training camp, which is huge, huge, huge for me.
According to Faber, he’s enjoying being able to eat after years of putting his body through the rigorous cuts down to 135 pounds, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting his speed inside the cage. He’s apparently had a great camp and is ready to show it against Edgar in two weeks:
“I’ve been going to bed around 162-163, which is – I didn’t even think I’d get that big. My body is reacting well to being able to eat. I’m super lean still and I feel fast. This has been a really good training camp so I’m curious to see how it all comes out when the fight starts.”
One of the more respected veterans of MMA, Faber has dispatched every fighter he’s met outside of a title affair. Will he be able to make short work of former champ Edgar in similar fashion?