When it comes time to award the 2013 Fighter of the Year, don't be surprised to see 34-year-old Urijah Faber's name in the mix. Faber fought four times in 2013, winning three of those fights by stoppage and earning a unanimous decision in his only fight that went the distance.
On Saturday, Faber put an exclamation point on his 2013 when he went out and earned a second round submission over Michael McDonald in the co-main event of UFC on Fox 9. Making the win even sweeter was the fact that it came in his hometown of Sacramento, CA.
Following the fight, UFC president Dana White offered his opinion on the year that Faber is having, putting his name next to another resurgent veteran, Vitor Belfort, "Faber's in this Vitor zone right now. The older he gets, the better he gets. If you look at how good McDonald really is, and people were so excited for this fight, he literally shut Michael down the entire fight and finished him with a great performance."
When Faber was asked about how he viewed his fourth win of 2013, which earned him Submission of the Night, he replied, "It felt like a special performance, for sure. I've been having a lot of special performances."
Faber, the former WEC featherweight champion, has not lost a fight since he dropped a unanimous decision to interim UFC Bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC 149. Faber said he considers that July 2012 loss a turning point, "After the Barao fight I just went back to the fact that I love what I do and reminded myself of that."
Faber's win over McDonald and his other 2013 victories over Ivan Menjivar, Scott Jorgensen and Iuri Alcantara would seem to have him in line to face the winner of the UFC 169 title unification bout between bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Barao. White made no attempt to dispute that fact, "A couple years ago people were saying ‘oh, these guys are just looking for excuses to give Urijah Faber a title shot.' You can't deny it now. You can hate. You can dislike the guy. You can do whatever you want, but you can't deny him now. The kid looks better than ever."
There's no denying that Faber would love another shot at a UFC title, but if for some reason that isn't in the cards, he's not too worried, "I'm ready to take on whoever," said Faber.
Odds are we'll have to wait until after UFC 169 takes place on February 1 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey to find out what fighter that whoever will be.
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