Faber plans to end Barao's streak, defend interim belt
Urijah Faber understands the spotlight that comes with big fights, perhaps better than any other UFC fighter.
Faber has spent the majority of the past few years fighting in title or contender fights, whether they came during his time as WEC featherweight champion, or as a contender in several UFC divisions. So "The California Kid" is prepared for his interim bantamweight title fight against Renan Barao in the main event of UFC 149 later this month when he plans to end the longest winning streak in mixed martial arts.
"There's always a sense of urgency when I'm in a fight," Faber said on today's media call. "Most of my fights have either been title fights or to get into title fights. So it's hard to say one has more sense of urgency than another.
"This is a fight that I need to win, but it's just like the rest of them; go out there and make sure you fight to the bitter end."
Faber's match up with Barao may give the longtime WEC champ his first taste of UFC gold, but the belt he really wants is wrapped around the waist of UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
He was supposed to meet his rival in a rematch after coaching opposite one another on "The Ultimate Fighter: Live," but a torn ACL has forced Cruz out of action for a lengthy period of time.
Of course, the competitor in Faber still wants a shot at Cruz, but, at least for now, Barao is standing in the way of that. And Faber says he is not looking past his dynamic opponent. In fact, the extra time to prepare was a blessing in disguise.
"Everything is about being the best," Faber said. "If I'm fighting Barao now, I'm not thinking about Dominic.
"Bottom line is, the extra two weeks was better for me. I feel like this is kind of a blessing to get the extra two weeks to prepare for this opponent and get into a comfort zone. It was a breath of fresh air."
And the extra two weeks was certainly a blessing for Faber, if only because his opponent brings to the cage a similar style as a man who defeated Faber not long ago.
For his camp, Barao has worked extensively with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, working out a gameplan with his fellow Brazilian. However, Faber says he already knew what Barao's gameplan would be and, even though Aldo did defeat him in their championship fight, he does not believe Aldo will be able to aid Barao in a victory.
Actually, only one situation with Aldo and Barao would concern Faber.
"Is he going to bring Jose Aldo in there to help fight me?" Faber asked, laughing a bit at the question, before explaining that he already expected Barao to work leg kicks, much like Aldo did.
"If so, then yes (Aldo could help him), but we're all individuals. I feel like Renan, altough he has a lot of similarities to Aldo, is a very different fighter. They're different sized fighters, They're different skill sets. It's a different fight"
Though he clearly has Aldo in his past, Faber does not believe the featherweight champ will haunt him in this contest. The California native plans to "fight to the bitter end" against Barao and walk away with the interim belt.
Of course, the next step would appear to be Dominick Cruz.
However, Cruz could be out of action for a lengthy period of time, leaving Faber on the shelf if he awaits his rival's return. That just won't work for the contender, as Faber says he won't put his life on hold because Cruz can't compete, meaning Faber would fully intend to defend the title.
"I'm not going to put my life on hold because of his injuries."
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