Maybe Urijah Faber's not overlooking Yuri Alcantara, but that's not all that's on his mind. One of the big topics to come from the bantamweight star and former WEC champion this week are potential superfights. Tired of treading water at 135 lbs, Faber spoke to MMAJunkie about his interest in getting a high profile fight at featherweight.
"I'm going to talk to (UFC President) Dana (White) and (UFC executive) Lorenzo (Fertitta) and see if we can set up some superfights," he said. "Maybe even go up to 145 (pounds) to do some stuff. I feel like I need to be in some fights that really matter. Not that this one doesn't, ...this guy's very tough, but that people care about."
"It's all about looking back at my career and saying I fought the best guys," Faber said today during an open workout in support of the event. "I'm not necessarily going to 145 – I'm just saying I want some big fights, and I'm going to see whatever I have to do to get them."
I'm not dinging Faber for looking down the line further than this fight with Alcantara. Alcantara is very tough and a great opponent. He has all the tools he needs to win this fight, but Faber's been in the game long enough to walk and chew gum. If he has a few other plans he's looking to make I'm not doubting his ability to still be prepared for this weekend. I do however have doubts about the prospects of him moving back up in weight.
He's certainly teasing the idea here, even if he has no set plans to do so, and it fills me with trepidation. We've seen, especially between Middleweight and Light Heavyweight, fighters fall into this promotional dead zone, where they've fought all the title fights they're likely to get, but are too good and too well known not to headline cards. Rich Franklin and Vitor Belfort spring immediately to mind. But where 185 and 205 have both held the general lack of depth that would allow fighters to move up or down for high profile fights and come out the winner, I feel like Faber may be playing with fire here.
Bantamweight is decidedly thin, Faber is by definition the no. 3 bantamweight in the world and it would be a minor miracle if that changes any time soon. However, what was once an equally barren landscape at 145 is now ferociously deep. Faber may have had a great deal of early career success at that weight, but I don't think there's much room in the top ten for an undersized fighter. A fight between him and Cub Swanson or Frankie Edgar would be a lot of fun to watch. I'd buy it, but it may set up Faber to take the kind of punishment he's mostly reserved for title fights. Monetarily it could serve him well, but it may spell the end of his time at the top of either division.
Urijah Faber takes on Yuri Alcantara at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen on August 17. The card airs live from Boston, Massachusets and will feature a light heavyweight bout between Mauricio Rua and Chael Sonnen. Check back for moreupdates and information as the card approaches.
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