Urijah Faber and Renan Barao stare down after fight announcement on final episode of TUF Live.
UFC 149 has been one of the cards most extremely effected by the injuries that have plagued the UFC throughout the summer. With the dust finally settled, Urijah Faber will battle Renan Barao for the Interim Bantamweight title, while champion Dominick Cruz recovers from a serious knee injury. Tim Boetsch will welcome former Bellator Middleweight champion Hector Lombard to the UFC for the co-main event at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Canada on July 21.
With Carlos Condit sitting out until Georges St. Pierre's return, whether or not challengers should wait for champions has been a big talking point lately. When posed the question on the UFC 149 conference call (July 12), the two bantamweight contenders had very different thoughts:
Urijah Faber (transcribed by MMA Fighting):
I'm not waiting for Dominick in any way, shape, or form. It makes sense for Carlos Condit to wait around for Georges St. Pierre. It’s a huge fight for him, but for me, of course, everyone wants to see the fight with Dominick and I but i’m not going to put my life on hold because of his injuries. Fighting's what I do, it's how I make my living, it's what I love to do, and I’ll be fighting whenever they give me the opportunity.
I think I would want to want to wait to fight Dominick Cruz. That’s a fight that I would really want. And I would want to convert my interim title into a definitive title for the weight class.
Without a doubt, Faber's response will be much more popular with the fans and the UFC brass as well. For that matter, I don't understand Barao's stance here. He's a young and exciting fighter so it makes more sense for him to stay active. On top of that, his situation doesn't parallel Condit's, since Cruz has shown no history as a pay per view draw and it doesn't offer a higher payday when the belts are unified. Either way, this promises to be an exciting bout.
Hit the jump for some more quotes from the conference call.
Dana White on the changes to the card due to injuries (transcribed by MMA Mania):
This is the craziest. We had 9 fights lost to injury and had to move two others. This one wins them all. We put the card back together. The top three fights on this card, Faber vs Renan Barao, Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch and Cheick Kongo vs. Shawn Jordan. We always deliver. The big main event last weekend, the biggest fight we've ever had was amazing. I was in San Jose last night and it was amazing. If this was boxing, the card would have been postponed but our fighters stepped up and we built another card.
Urijah Faber on his experience:
I would have say having been in the game for so long and being experienced has its advantages but the other thing is everyone goes to you for the media stuff. It's one of the things I'm used to but it's another part of the game for me. It doesn't ever affect me in the fight. It's not about how many interviews I've done. I just approach a fight like I would defending myself on the street. I've got no excuses ever. I don't care who the opponent is. I'm gonna go out there and win
Renan Barao on Faber:
I've watched Urijah for years. He's not a fighter I'm unfamiliar with. I think his strong points are his takedowns and he's got some nasty elbows I'll have to watch out for. It's an honor to be fighting him.
Faber on Barao training with Jose Aldo:
Is he gonna bring Jose Aldo there to help fight me? If so, then yes, but we're all individuals. Renan, even though he has similarities, they're different fighters. They are different sizes and different skill-sets. I don't think Aldo's input will help that much. He'll probably tell him to kick me in the leg but Renan was going to do that anyways. I think this is the battle of the two best lightweight camps in the world against each other.