Urijah Faber was a guest on a recent edition of “Submission Radio” and discussed his role with Snoop Dogg calling Dana White’s Contender Series.
Faber also chimed in on the upcoming bantamweight title fight between Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw.
On how his commentary with Snoop Dogg played out for the Contender Series looking back at their 8 weeks together
“Man, I thought he (Snoop Dogg) did amazing. The funny thing is, you know, what you get with Snoop is just a guy that’s being extremely real and passionate. It was cool. It was just a different type of eyeball on the fights. He’s a guy that’s just saying exactly what he sees. If a guy is laying on his back, he’s not thinking, “oh, is he going to go for a knee bar?” he’s thinking, “why is the guy laying on his back?”. So he has a good knowledge of the sport from a spectator level, but it was fun to kind of teach him and just realize that like, this is just purely watching a fight with Snoop Dogg, not him having to be biased, not him having to do this – even I made a joke that he was gonna be banned from the first fight after the Conor McGregor fight because I think he was probably drunk and had said some stuff that pissed a bunch of people off, but, I mean, the guy’s just real, so I can appreciate that and I had a lot of fun. The way he treated me and other people was pretty great, he was a gentleman and as real as it gets.”
What happened when Paige VanZant needed help in her last weight cut and how Urijah “saved her”
“Well, the two of us were both cutting weight, and I cut a lot of weight as well, that was in Sacramento, and we were on a group text and everyone was checking in on kind how the weight was going and I was like, “I’m two pounds over, one pound over,” and Paige just had kind of a moment of panic. And actually, I talked to her best friend who was up there with her and she’s like, “I can’t cut anymore weight. I can’t. Like, my body’s not doing it”, like, she was feeling really bad. So before I went and reported, I was on weight myself, I went up to her room and just set her straight, I put her through the things that needed to be done in order to get her over that final hump and gave her exactly the instructions what to do and kind of did a check on her body to make sure everything was functioning OK and we got her right over the mark. But yeah, she’s had a difficult time, and people always forget about the fact that she’s a strong, athletic girl. So because she carries it so well and she makes things look easy, that’s a big cut for her. And I’ve had a text with her recently where she sent me a picture of her standing on a scale at 131 or 132 (pounds) just looking lean, and I mean, that’s a good place to be, after practice, being six or seven pounds over. When I was a world champ at 145 pounds I was having about the same weight cut, I was coming down from like 151 to 152 to make 145. Sometimes I’d get up to 153 or 154 when I was trying to gain weight. But I think it’s going to be healthy transition for her.”
How bad Paige VanZant’s weight cut was compared to the worst cuts he’s seen and how much it affected her performance, and if she could become the champion at 125 pounds
“It’s gonna be very interesting. I mean, you give up different things when you go up a weight. I’ve done it, I’ve been at 135, I’ve been at 145. I felt great when I didn’t have to cut weight. My weight cuts were big weight cuts. I mean, I’ve done it for years as far as a wrestler goes, so I was very familiar with it. But I mean, it got to a point where I was cutting, I’d put on between 18 and 23 pounds in a 12-hour period after a weight cut. So I don’t have my finger on the pulse of her training right now because she’s down in Oregon, but I still manage her and I’m pretty involved in her career and I may actually go and head out there and spend a few days to check up and her and everything, but she seems to be really, really happy with what she’s got going up there. She’s back at her hometown where she originally is from and at a great place, so I’m expecting to see a great performance from her. She’s got a really tough opponent, someone that’s kind of understated because of the win-loss record as of late, but Jessica Eye is a very, very tough challenge and she’s coming down a weight and Paige is going up a weight, but I’m curious to see, but we’re thinking Paige is gonna get her.”
As a coach and gym owner, how Faber handled situations with TJ Dillashaw where he would lose his temper and knee or punch teammates like Chris Holdsworth and others in the head after sparring sessions
“Well, I mean, there’s no secret about that, and if you even watch old interviews where I’m talking about TJ, we’re talking about that part of him and having to work with him as an individual that has been known for having an extreme temper. That was one of the things we worked on fixing with him and having to talk to him outside of the cage, kneeing people when we’re boxing or hitting people after the bell or if you’re not watching him with a younger guy, you know, elbowing when you’re not supposed to, like that kind of thing. There’s no secret and I don’t think TJ would deny the fact that that’s been an issue for a lot of years. I didn’t really want to talk about the whole (Chris Holdsworth situation) – I don’t know if you saw the Joe Rogan Experience, but I didn’t really want to talk about it because it’s a hard conversation for Chris to talk about and it’s an emotional thing for him and that’s his business, really. So, it was a difficult thing and it was something that we worked on and when you have a family setting there’s always these issues, but it’s still within the family, you know? So, at this point TJ is no longer a part of the family, as you know when things come out, but it’s still something that is Chris’s deal and if he wanted to put it out there a long time ago, he didn’t really want to be a spectacle like that and I can respect that.”
Why TJ was kept on the team after these serious issues, namely the Chris Holdsworth incident
“I mean, it comes down to, you know, people making their case for what happened, etc., and it was something that we had to actually work on, it was like it was a controlling of his temper. And I know people that went to college with TJ and known that it was an issue before, and when it becomes endangering to other people that’s a different issue, but conversations had been had, timeouts, that kind of thing. In retrospect, do you kick someone out once he’s crossed a different line or do you catch him every single time or what’s the deal? It’s just kind of a slippery slope. And again, I’m training alongside everybody and TJ was always respectful of me because I was the team leader and things like that, he would have more of an issue with guys that he felt maybe should not be getting the better of him and things like that. So, it’s kind of hard in retrospect, you see the things adding up and having to defend, but we’re in a brutal sport, so it’s hard to decipher and say, “okay, we’re trying to beat each other up and hurt each other, somebody loses their temper or this and that,” when do you draw the line? But I think TJ grew up a lot during that process, at least it seemed, and we just had to make it a constant thing, you know, “hey, no knees unless you have knee pads, when we’re boxing you can’t do things that are illegal in boxing,” you know, just playing by the rules. So, he’s also somebody that lived in my same house and was someone that I was trying to help mentor and stuff like that, so you don’t really think of like, “okay, time to kick this person out of the team and out of the neighbourhood and everything else,” and that’s funny, interesting enough he’s actually saying that I did kick him out, which is basically a bold-faced lie so that’s the comedic part about the whole questioning.”
If TJ is Cody’s toughest remaining test in the division
“Yeah, I think so. I mean, I’ve known TJ for years. I’ve probably fought TJ more times than I’ve fought anybody, maybe him and Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes actually, but probably TJ the most because he liked to spar so much. He’s a tough dude, he’s a very tough dude, he’s a competitive guy, but Cody is the new breed of mixed martial artist and TJ, you know, we were watching tape the other day with all our coaching staff and just looking at the match-up, were all pretty confident that Cody’s gonna have a big edge here and we know TJ so well. I’ve trained with him, trained alongside of him, helped coach him and had him coach me for six years, from the beginning till he won the fight before he lost the title. So we know him really well. We know his personality, we know his strengths, we know some of his weaknesses, and TJ and Cody used to go at it, man. They used to go at it and that was when Cody was 1-0 and they were tit for tat. So, we’re excited for the match-up, we’re excited to have Cody healthy and it’s gonna be a great fight and Cody’s definitely gonna have the edge.”
Prediction how the fight goes between TJ and Cody
“I think it’s going to be a war, absolutely. I know TJ very well and he’ll lay his life on the line for this thing and so will Cody, and that’s what you’re getting at when you’re dealing with the best fighters on the planet and it’s two of the best fighters on the planet, so it’s gonna come down to who’s the better fighter, and in my mind Cody is the better fighter. From the get-go, you see championship mentality and championship spirit, which they both have from the get-go. I talked to them both about that and I identified it early on. But then it comes down to who has the better skillset, who has the better athleticism, who has the better game plan and match up, and I think we’ve got the guy in Cody.”