The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title has eluded Team Alpha Male’s camp long enough; Urijah Faber is hoping third time is a charm as he takes on Renan Barao at UFC 169 held in Chicago. The match between these two will be the co-main event on the fight card and the first of two titles on the line that night. This will be Urijah’s third title fight in the UFC, losing both of his other shots against Dominic Cruz and the man he will be facing Saturday night.
The California Kid is currently riding a four fight winning streak in the Bantamweight division, beating some of the top contenders in the division, earning his shot. Unfortunately this title shot comes at a cost to another famed fighter. Dominic Cruz was the defending champion in the division but had to relinquish the title after not being able to recover from a torn ACL he suffered. This was supposed to be Cruz’s return back to the octagon. One man’s displeasure is another man’s treasure, as Faber jumped on the opportunity to revenge an earlier loss to Barao and capture his first UFC gold.
One of the few knocks on the famed fighter is not being able to produce when it counts the most. Urijah has not won a title fight since his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) days when he beat Jens Pulver in 2008 to defend his Featherweight Championship. Ever since, he has lost five total championship fights in a row in two different weight divisions. One thing Faber does have to his credit, is that out of his six total losses in his career, five have come at the hands of UFC title holders. He has proven that not just any fighter can overcome the California Kid when matched up, it takes one of the UFC’s best. Ready to change the trend, he is going to try to prove the third time is a charm by taking the title.
Urijah’s camp, Team Alpha Male, is hoping someone from the camp can finally bring home the gold they have been patiently waiting for. Team Alpha Male holds one of the deepest talent pools for the lighter divisions in the UFC, and has had multiple shots at the belt beyond Faber. Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez have also made claims for their contender spots in their divisions and have had shots at the title, but both still fell short to their respective opponents. For a team that is on the verge of moving up and has a full head of steam of momentum; they are just waiting for one of their fighters to finally put them over the hump as one of the best in the organization.
Faber may have let distractions in the past affect the outcome of his performance, but he has remained steady throughout this whole year; calling this a training camp year. Stating he has not been this focused in years, zeroing in a lot more on his mental preparation than anything else coming into this weekend. He is looking to make a statement for more than just himself, but for his team, to finally get over the hump. His doubters keep calling him just a good “Marketing” fighter, but he wants to prove that he is more than just a man who puts on a show. Urijah Faber wants to be the best and hopes that the third time is a charm as he approaches a career defining date with Renan Barao on Saturday night.
by Justin Huffman