Urijah Faber is ready for another crack at bantamweight gold. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Urijah Faber is looking toward for another crack at UFC gold on the strength of his sterling performance Saturday night at UFC on Fox 9.
Faber cemented his status as the UFC’s top 135-pound contender in front of a partisan crowd, scoring a slick, second-round submission over Michael McDonald from the Sleep Train Arena in Faber’s hometown of Sacramento, Calif.
After taking the hard-hitting 22-year-old to the canvas in the first frame, Faber found his punching range in the second period, catching McDonald with a crisp right hand that set him off balance and left him open for the sharp flurry of strikes that followed. Reeling from the blows, “Mayday” tried to shoot for a takedown but left his neck unprotected. Faber seized the opening and locked up his patented guillotine choke, forcing the submission 3:22 into the second stanza.
“McDonald is such young guy, and he’s so talented. I kind of lulled him into [thinking I would avoid his striking] with the media push,” Faber told Fox Sports following his victory. “I was talking about how great his standup was, and I wanted him to feel a sense of security. I was looking for him to be lulled into a little bit of gunfight, and he got caught with one. It was pretty inspiring to be in this arena with so many folks cheering for me and have a great performance against a tough opponent. I couldn’t ask for anything else.”
Though Faber is a 10-year pro and a veteran of 36 professional bouts, “The California Kid” nevertheless still views himself as a member of MMA’s most highly-evolved crop of fighters.
“For a 22-year-old, 34 probably sounds old, but as we all know, there is a lot to be done into your 30s and [longer], until we’re off this planet,” said Faber. “I’m excited to let everyone know that this is the new generation. I’m not someone who’s an old dinosaur in this sport. I’m a seasoned veteran who has trained in every discipline possible. That’s what this new generation is about, and I’m a part of that.”
A former World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion, Faber has gone 7-2 since making the cut to bantamweight, with both losses coming in title fights against Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao. Those men will now unify the bantamweight championship this February at UFC 169, when “The Dominator” steps in the Octagon for the first time since October 2011.
“We’ve got some great champions. Dominick Cruz is a very tricky fighter with a lot of skill and a unique style. In my heart, I felt like I beat him [in 2011]. It was so close,” said Faber. “Against Barao, he outclassed me that day and broke my rib two minutes into the fight, but I don’t feel like I’ve put forth my best effort. I’m ready for the opportunity. That’s why I’m in this sport. When I’m not shooting for the stars, I’m going to be out of this sport.”