Urijah Faber calls out UFC champ Dominick Cruz
By Patrick Ibarra
The UFC announced on March 26 that UFC Featherweight champion Dominick Cruz verbally agreed to defend his belt against challenger Urijah Faber, later announcing that the fight will take place at UFC 132 on July 2 in Las Vegas.
On March 28, Faber posted a YouTube video with a message. While the Sacramento-based fighter thanked his fans for support, as he always does, he stepped out of character for a moment to give a different kind of shout out to his next opponent.
“Let me tell you guys that I’m going to win this fight,” Faber said. “It’s just a bad matchup for (Cruz). Be ready for a barnburner. I’m gonna be putting in 120 percent for this one. And Dominick, oh boy, I came to party.”
Faber, not known for trash talking, always enters his fights with a sense of confidence, but rarely with any disdain for the man standing across the cage. He’s cordial and complimentary, sharing a smile and a handshake when he encounters them outside of the Octogan. With his feelings for Cruz, though, it’s a different story, and that could make for an explosive fight later this year.
“People wanna know what’s going on, so basically, that’s why people are hearing about this stuff,” Faber said. “I’m an honest guy and I call it how it is. People are always asking, ‘Why don’t you like him?’ and there’s a bunch of little things, but the bottom line is I just don’t think he’s that cool. Whether he wants to complain and think that I’m trying to tarnish his name or whatever, I’m just being honest, dude. That’s the way it is.”
Faber went to explain that it shouldn’t matter what he says or thinks anyway in Cruz’s eyes, but wanted to make it clear that he’s not on the champ’s bandwagon.
“Get the chip off of your shoulder; who cares what I think?” he said. “You’re a UFC champ, you’re a young guy, you’re good looking, you got the title for another four months before I swipe it from you, and, you know, life is good. So you’re gonna have some fans out there, I’m just not one of them.”
Cruz, the UFC champ currently, mowed through competition his entire career, avoiding damage in fights with lightning quick speed while picking apart his opponents in impressive fashion. It’s led to a 17-1 record. His only loss? To Faber in WEC 26 in March of 2007.
“In the real world you get to pick and choose who you have involved in your life,” Faber said. “If I don’t like someone, I leave it at that; he’s out. I’m only hanging with my buddies. But our paths are having to cross. He’s got something I want. I’m the only guy to beat him, so he’s always gotta hear my name.”
Faber, the former WEC Featherweight champion, dropped from 145 pounds to the 135-pound Bantamweight class in an effort to fight guys closer to his natural size. He went from being a contender at Featherweight to a favorite at Bantamweight, essentially with only one guy in his way: Cruz. The fight was in the making as soon as Faber dropped down, and when Faber beat Eddie Wineland by unanimous decision in UFC 128 on March 19, the table was set.
Now it’s time to eat, and Faber is hungry.
“This is my opportunity accomplish my dreams,” Faber said. “It’s been a long time coming for me. It’s been one of my goals, and I’m stoked to have this fight.”