Note: This interview was conducted less than 24-hours before the UFC 149 main event.
The main event of Saturday’s UFC 149 card is a 5 round affair for the interim UFC Bantamweight Championship. It pits Renan Barao against fan favorite Urijah Faber. Urijah was originally slated to face his nemesis, UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz, at UFC 148, but Cruz had to withdraw due to inury. Dominick’s replacement comes in to the fight with an amazing 28-1 MMA record. The last three of Barao’s wins were in the UFC, and secured him his spot across the Octagon from Urijah. Barao has never faced an opponent like him according to Faber.
“I definitely think I am his biggest test to date. Of course I don’t know all of the guys he has fought in Brazil. Maybe there was someone there that was really tough for him. As far as accomplishments and the level of fighting I think I am at the highest level for sure”.
Barao possesses a well-rounded game, but Faber feels there is one area that stands out in his arsenal.
“He has really accurate knees that seem to always find their mark. He brings them up really high and they work well for him. He has a spin kick that is pretty dangerous. I imagine he will attack my legs and stuff. I think I need to watch out for, you know be aware of his kicks. I’ll just be aware of those and counter like I need to. I have a gameplan and I’m going to execute it. I’m not too worried about it”.
Jose Aldo displayed his adept kicking skills in his fight with Urijah at WEC 48. He executed kick after kick on Faber masterfully and they seemed to suck the life out of The California Kid’s chances for victory with each one. While Barao does have some of the same techniques in his arsenal as Aldo, Faber does not see a true comparison.
“Barao seems like he is good at the kicks, but Jose Aldo is the man when it comes to kicking. I’m sure he’s going to try and utilize that, but I’ve been there and I’ve experienced that. I’m aware of those things now and I’m ready”.
Faber fought at 145 pounds for quite a while. After some careful thought he dropped down to the UFC’s 135 pound division. Anyone who has ever had to cut weight knows how difficult it can be. Urijah was up front in saying it wasn’t exactly his favorite part of prepping for a fight.
“Weight cutting doesn’t get easier. It’s not getting easier, but it’s something I’m used to more now. It’s not as difficult, but I’m not going to say it’s really getting easier. I can manage it fairly easy. The last couple of times have been easier than the first. I think I have the process down to a science now”.
Sometimes when a fighter wins an interim championship they are content in waiting for a title unification bout with the returning champion. Faber doesn’t feel that way.
“I’m not really trying to make a statement. I’m just speaking my mind on my own feelings. I’m not just going to sit there. If it were like a superfight that was the one everyone wanted to see then yes I would wait. It makes sense for Condit to wait for GSP in my opinion. That’s the biggest fight. I would love to fight Dominick Cruz first because that’s the biggest fight at 135, but I’m not going to wait around for him. I can be a draw without him I feel like”.
Urijah ended up in the main event of UFC 149 after the UFC shuffled around what seemed like an endless amount of bouts due to injuries. No matter how many he may do he still feels it is a position of honor to be fighting in the spot of a UFC card.
“You know it’s all just kind of been a step at a time getting there. I’m honored to be a main event guy. I think my fights are exciting and for whatever reason I have resonated with the fans. I have a solid fanbase and I feel like we connect. It means something to me, but it’s not like surreal. Saturday is going to be another exciting fight and I think the fans are going to love it”.Tags: featured, mma, MMA NEWS, ufc, ufc news