This past Saturday Night saw the UFC in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where former WEC champion and poster boy Urijah Faber took on Brazilian Renan Barao for an interim UFC 135 Lb title. Despite his typical gameness, Faber failed again in his attempt to gain UFC gold and it is likely that the ‘California Kid’ is fading from the championship picture. So what is next nearing the end of the road for this pioneer of the lower weight classes?
The match with Renan Barao was originally scheduled to be the third match for Faber with Dominick Cruz, giving them a trilogy and breaking their 1-1 deadlock after their first two fights.
And for Faber, who has established himself as a top name, the Cruz fight is really the only fight that makes sense at this point in his career. And he needs a few more things as well.
FIrst of all, he needs a new image. He is now 33 years old, and despite being a smaller man, is not a kid anymore – the ‘California Kid’ he is not!
He should also get a considerable amount of time off. The UFC should allow the Dominick Cruz- Renan Barao unification match to take place, and then have Faber waiting in the wings for Cruz, whether he wins or loses.
One thing that seems to be the case is that Faber is starting to get brittle as he ages. He has suffered broken hands, and in this last fight, he suffered a broken rib. Perhaps a layoff and some rest will see him heal up for one last go at it with Cruz.
And he needs to get back to the basics of his style. Granted, once his rib was hurt, Faber’s game plan went out the window, but we have seen a tendency by Faber to stand and box, and that has been good enough to lose him some fights.
Faber needs to get back to his wrestling game. Dana White is right in some ways, the match between Barao and Faber should not have been booed, it was a high level tussle between two great athletes. But what it does not take into account is that very little risks were taken, and that once the first round was over, the fans had pretty much seen the extent of all the techniques that either guy would use in the fight. And none were really designed to finish the fight, just to get points and earn the round.
I want to see a driving Faber fight and keep driving for the takedown, and I want to see him establish top position and beat people up. I don’t want to see a courageous Faber kickbox against better kickboxers, which is what he has been doinng.
Faber needs to re-invent himself for the Cruz matchup to really have a chance at going out on top, and getting people to forget that he fell short of earning a UFC title in his storied career.