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Urijah Faber Serves Notice To The Bantamweight Co-Champs: Not The Fighter You Fought
What can be said about Urijah Faber’s performance in Sacramento, California this evening other than, wow?
“The California Kid” put on a tour-de-force demonstration of mixed martial arts tonight, as he dominated Michael “Mayday” McDonald.
It was an impressive stamd to say the least. From the bell’s ring in the first round, to referee Herb Dean’s 3:22 stoppage in the second, it was all Faber.
“TCK” demonstrated his ever evolving skill set and from what fans witnessed in the bout, he appeared to be more a stand-up fighter than a wrestler who’s taken to MMA.
Put simply and tonight, Faber looked to be an amazingly well-rounded fighter and one with tons of power. He seemed to care not where the fight went and for the most part, appeared to be showcasing his kickboxing skills; dare fans say, as if he was in a sparring match.
Regardless of providence or view, the record now reflects that Urijah Faber is 4 & 0 over his last double-deuce, with all of those bouts coming in the calendar year. Nested within that, is the fact that he’s culled three of those victories by submission stoppages. Put it all together and TCK has racked up a 75% finishing rate over four fights, as spread out over (only) ten months. That is, to say the least, a torrid pace and an impressive mark.
As such, Faber finds himself cast as the anvil by which the winner of Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao shall be first tested. Of the stamp that shall be placed, face up or face down, most fans (dare we say all) will have no problem with Faber acting as “smith” of coinage on the 135 pound realm. Epigrammatically, he’s earned his swing of the hammer.
However and regarding the benchmark that Faber may appear to be, Cruz and Barao fans would argue that they’ve poured cold water on his forge before.
Of course, this would be true.
Each of these champions, affirmed and interim, have defeated Faber before (UFC 132 & 149, respectively) and did so, for the most part, handily; no one would argue. Yet and even though they dominated Faber through the fight and over the (five) rounds, they failed to stop him. As the record demonstrates, both of these greats had to seek the opinion of the judges to cull their decision victories.
As to place no shame on the bantamweight duo’s inability to stop Faber, it should also be noted that the 145 pound featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, also needed 25 minutes and the judges rendering, to take home his (WEC) victory over the California Kid.
Summarily, none of the big three have been able to stop Faber and as over three separate attempts, he’s managed to weather the storm in each instance. More to the point, the triads inability to stop TCK has been based on a pre or early 2012 version of the fighter, and not on the post (December 2012, head coach) Duane “Bang” Ludwig version of Faber. As fans see it, the two are not the same thing.
The Faber that’s entering the UFC’s Octagon in (late) 2013 / 2014 is markedly different than the one that has faced Cruz and Barao in the past.
Faber appears to be a fighter that has more to him than simply the pace, cardio, wrestling and dynamism of old. Yes, he’s still the tremendous wrestler and athlete that he’s always been, but now there’s a great deal more to his attack.
Fighters that stand in front of him are as apt to get countered on the feet or kicked in the head, as taken down. For the first time, Faber appears to have his opponents guessing. For as it stands and going into 2014, Faber’s adversaries now have to worry about a very active and solid stand-up game and not just Urijah’s takedowns and ground game.
As Urijah will now stand to face the winner of UFC 169’s Cruz / Barao match, slated for February 1rst of next year, fans should not be startled if the outcome of the fight with ends up going Urijah’s way. The California Kid is a great deal more than he was the first time through, when he faced either of the 135 pound champions; as he’s not the same fighter he was when he lost to Jose Aldo. In direct apraisal, he’s grown considerably over the last year.
The synopsis on Faber, by view and by record, is that he’s a vastly better fighter than either Cruz or Barao have witnessed in their earlier encounters with him. And to the point, should the winner of UFC 169 show up thinking that they’ll have him for lunch again, believing that he’s the same fighter that they’ve faced before, then they should reconsider their assessment.
As it stands today and 18 months past their last encounter, and that’s taking it from the July 2012 Barao defeat, not the Cruz July 2011 loss, Faber has grown and without a doubt, as over his last four fights, has served notice upon the division’s two crackerjacks that next time round, the result may be different.
For fans that will be interested in the outcome of Faber’s test for the winner of UFC 169, the results of it will probably be available in August or September of next year.