Tomorrow night an important bantamweight bout is set with serious implications for the division.
Two former champions, Urijah Faber and Brian Bowles, will meet in the center of the Octagon on this weekend’s pay-per-view card to determine the next number one-contender in the division.
UFC 139 is set to take place on November 19th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. With the original heavyweight title fight headliner between champ Cain Velasquez and Junior Santos moving from UFC 139 to UFC on FOX 1 the organization has decided to go with a non-title affair between Dan Henderson and “Shogun” Rua as the evenings featured attraction.
Late last night I was fortunate enough to get our longtime friend Urijah Faber on the phone to discuss this weekend’s fight. He was in the middle of his weight cut for today’s weigh-ins and was trying to lightly rehydrate himself after a day of cutting pounds. We talked about a bunch of topics ranging from the fight, to his teammates, training and more.
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: Full *unedited Audio with additional content at the end of the entry
PC: Let’s just start off with the weight cut, how’s it going here on the eve of weigh-ins?
UF: “It’s been pretty smooth; I’m not cutting too hard. I mean if you look at the big picture I guess I am cutting hard but I have it down to a science, so at this point I’m within striking distance and that is good enough.”
PC: This being your fourth fight at Bantamweight has the cut gotten easier?
UF: “Ya definitely, I never really cut too hard, I was cutting 5-8 pounds before and now I tack on ten plus to that now, so a little under 20 pounds when I’m at my heaviest but really about 15 pounds when I’m in tip top shape.”
PC: How was your training camp and did you get the right guys in to help you prepare for this fight?
UF: “Definitely the biggest thing for me was having all the guys on my team that where in there pushing also. I have TJ Dillishaw who just made it to the finals on the ultimate fighter, he’s a 35 pounder. I have Lance Palmer and Joseph Benavidez and Chad Mendes who is fighting Jose Aldo. I have Danny Castillo on the card and we’ve had all sorts of guys that came in from different places to spar. We always have a tough camp in there and I got the most out of it for sure.”
PC: I remember a few years back when I spent a few days up at your gym, Brian Bowles was there training. I am wondering; now that this fight is upon us, was that just a onetime thing or did that relationship continue through the years and does that help you in this fight?
UF: “I think it was once or twice that Bowles came in to train with us. We’ve all remained friends but it was just a short period of time when we all trained together but we have been friendly this whole time.
We are friends with his teammate and coach also, Jeff Beddard. We are like business associates you know, we aren’t best friends but he’s definitely a guy that we like and this is just business. We have to take care of business and put the friendship aside because we both want the same thing.”
PC: Did you pick up anything training with him?
UF: “I think it was good to train with him but it was so long ago and it was just a different time. I was at 145 pounds at the time and he was newer to the sport so I don’t really take too much from that, other than I know that he is tough. I can only assume he has gotten better and I already know he is tough so I am just gonna honor the weapons he has and go in there and take him out.”
PC: How do you see this fight playing out?
UF: “I see it being a lot of stand up and I think it will probably be an all over the place fight. I think there are going to be a lot of heavy punches being landed on both sides but I plan on landing the heavier ones and making him miss and dominating the fight.
I want to finish the fight by any kind of stoppage, TKO, KO, submission or whatever it may be.”
PC: Brian’s biggest accolade is his punching power, but for you, having been in there with the Mike Brown’s and Jose Aldo’s of the world, are you confident you can handle his power?
UF: “Ya, I mean I’m not worried about his power too much. It will be there but I spar with guys that are powerful. Joseph Benavidez is a knockout puncher and Justin Buccholz is a knockout puncher, so is TJ Dillishaw and I spar with guys all the time and we hit each other all the time and try to knock each other out. I love sparring and I love mixing it up, it’s about getting hurt!”
PC: Does it give you more motivation knowing that an impressive performance gets you a rematch with Cruz?
UF: “That’s the goal here, to be the best guy in the world and this is the only route to doing it, beating the top guys. I can’t wait to get in there and mix it up and throw down and get the W. It’s going to be an intense fight but the prize at the end is well worth it.”
To listen to the rest of the interview where Urijah talks about why all the smaller guys with talent flock to his gym, what he did wrong in the last Cruz fight, thoughts on judging in MMA, who he wants to face in “Super Fights’, his promise to finish Cruz in a rematch, TJ Dillishaw’s place in the bantamweight division, fighting his teammates and much much more just click play and listen to the audio below.
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