Long-time WEC poster boy and former featherweight kingpin Urijah “The California Kid” Faber is on the verge of entering a new phase in his decorated career. The Team Alpha Male member will be dropping down to the bantamweight (135-pounds) division and (courtesy the UFC-WEC merger) will soon be enjoying the title of, and perks that come along with being, a UFC fighter.
Before he officially takes his place on the UFC’s roster though, he will make his bantamweight debut on one of the final WEC shows. Scheduled to take on Takeya Mizugaki this Thursday night at WEC 52, Faber plans on sending out the promotion in which he made his name with a bang; telling MMAFighting.com’s Mike Chiappetta that he is looking for a strong finish against his tough opponent.
“Yeah, I love the fact that he’s going to fight to bitter end,” Faber replied when asked if he is excited to take on Mizugaki. “He’s got a real aggressive style. I think he matches up great with me. I definitely think we’ll make for an exciting fight and I’m looking forward to winning.”
Coming off of a disappointing unanimous decision loss to Jose Aldo, Faber will be looking to start his run at 135-pounds with a bang by scoring an impressive finish over Mizugaki.
“I feel like it’s not going to go the distance. I want to put on a show,” he said. “I’m not sure how exactly, but definitely a KO, TKO or submission before time runs out.”
If Faber defeats Mizugaki impressively, his star power alone could carry him very close (if not directly to) a title shot against current champ Dominick Cruz–towards whom Faber admits not harboring many pleasant feelings.
“He just kind of rubs me the wrong way. I think it started when we fought the first time,” Faber said, referring to a 2007 bout that saw Cruz lose via first round submission. “He was kind of disrespectful. We signed these posters for charity and he signed his name over my face, blatantly. I don’t know what he was thinking. It’s kind of a little insight that he’s kind of a dope. I just don’t like how he carried himself. It’s one thing to be a gracious winner, but to be a gracious loser is a whole different story. I mean, he’s probably grown up a little bit since then but that left a bad taste in my mouth. There’s a lot of people I do like, only a few I don’t. Nothing too specific other than the fact I just don’t think he’s that cool and that he’s a guy I might have to fight.”
How do you feel about Faber’s chances at bantamweight? Will the drop down mark a period of career renaissance for Faber or will “The California Kid” find himself in trouble at 135-pounds? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.