After Dominick Cruz suffered a groin tear, Urijah Faber got the call to challenge Renan Barao for the UFC bantamweight title Saturday at UFC 169.
Ahead of the bout, coach Duane Ludwig joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show to discuss Faber’s training, preparing for Barao’s kicks and more.
On whether fighters should take short-notice bouts: “It depends on who it is. Since it was Urijah Faber, there were no issues because he was healthy. The guy doesn’t get tired. He pushes the pace and he’s healthy and he’s a world-class martial artist. He’s the No. 1 contender for a reason. For this particular time, it was perfect for us. I think it’s great. He’s healthy, he’s sharp. … The guy is always training. Even though he went on a little vacation, he was still surfing and running on the beach. The guy knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s always in shape, always improving, getting better each and every day. So when these shots do come up, we’re ready.”
On scouting Barao: “As far as the coach’s aspect, I’m always taking notes and making sure I’m just keeping tabs on the guys that I feel are going to be in our future, and this is one of the times. I’m glad that I’ve been on top of things for cases just like this.”
On whether Faber has improved since his first fight against Barao in July 2012: “I know exactly what I’m doing, and now these world-class martial artists [at Team Alpha Male], with the professional dedication that they have, now have the proper information. They’ve improved leaps and bounds. They really have. Of course I’d like to take a bunch of the credit, but it’s not deserving. I’ll take three percent or something because it does take a collaboration, not just my information, their athleticism, their dedication but also the other team members too who are always consistently in the gym pushing one another.”
On how to prepare for Barao’s kicks: “How do you learn anything? Drilling proper quality reps at a slow enough pace where it’s perfectly correct. Quality reps. You can go in there and slap punches all day long, and that’s how you’re going to throw them in the cage because that’s the way you’ve trained. … We practice good quality reps.”
On Faber’s mental state going into the fight: “He’s ready to go. What’s the ideal situation? A two-month training camp? I guess that’d be ideal, but maybe a short-notice camp, nothing to lose, who knows where [Barao’s] mind’s at with it, but Urijah Faber is gangster, man. He’s 100-percent mentally sound and ready to go.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 53:53).