Urijah Faber has been spearheading the lighter weights for the better part of the decade. The highly decorated fighter has claimed titles in multiple organizations and beaten almost every top fighter in his division, but a UFC championship has eluded him since they merged from the WEC.
He has had three shots at the belt since dropping to bantamweight, with his last bout ending with a controversial stoppage in a rematch against Renan Barao.
"I don't know what I could have done differently. It really depends because I don't know what they're looking for," Faber told Bloody Elbow during his PR tour in Manila, "I was intelligently defending myself, holding on to a leg and covering my head, so the only thing I can do really is to give a thumbs up."
"I guess I could've stopped defending myself? I don't know. I really don't know. I could not put myself on that situation first maybe?"
"This time around, was different from the last time I fought Barao. I was much more offensive right off the bat this time, and I kind of was throwing caution to the wind" Faber said as he talked about their two encounters, and a potential third bout, "Next time, I would say I would be more defensively sound in addition to being aggressive."
The situation was understandably frustrating for the former WEC champion. He had to win four big matches before he even received a short-notice bout for the title, so this second loss against Barao could mean a much longer road to the title.
"My goals moving forward is just to continue having success. I want to win every fight that I'm in. Period."
"I've got some big goals that I can't control, so I'm just going to worry about the things that I can control, and that's training my ass off and being ready for anyone they throw at me," he said, "I don't really worry about (a title shot). Another person has to make that decision, and that's out of my control. I'm just going to go in there and I'm going to win."
After two losses to Anderson Silva a few years back, Rich Franklin was put in a situation before where he had to jump divisions for more interesting super-fights, as it was hard to justify giving him another shot regardless if he was better than the rest of the field. When asked about possible comparisons, Faber states that his situation is slightly different.
"I don't think (I'm in a similar situation as Rich Franklin before), just because the losses I've had at the top haven't been dominant ones. One was a controversial stoppage, the other one was a decision that was kind of uneventful. So it's not like I was completely wrecked or completely out of the picture," he said, "I think super-fights are still an option. I just have to see what's interesting and what the offers are, and what they mean to me. I definitely would not be opposed to it."
"I haven't really thought of (moving up) yet. There was some talk about me and Frankie fighting before, and rumored to be coaching the Ultimate Fighter, but at this point, the bigger goal is get to the top of my weight class."
Photos: Urijah Faber tours Manila
Urijah Faber has been spending the week touring all over the Philippines. Check out Bloody Elbow.com's photos along with the UFC star's thoughts on the country and its fan base.
While taking big fights outside the division are always an option, Faber says he's more focused on getting another crack at the bantamweight title. The next step for him though, is to use that first-hand experience against Barao to help out his teammate.
As Faber predicted following that contested stoppage, another Team Alpha Male product will have a crack at solving the Barao puzzle with T.J. Dillashaw being granted the next title shot.
"I was pretty excited hearing about it," Faber states as spoke about learning of the new UFC 173 headliner from half-way around the world, "I think he will do great."
"Because he's younger than I am on the team and he hasn't been around as long as I have, people don't give him enough credit. TJ is very tough," he said, as he talked about Dillashaw's chances, "His loss to Raphael Assuncao, in my opinion, should've been on TJ's side. He had a pre-existing cut on his eyebrow, and he was fighting in Brazil. I think both those factors kind of led in to him losing a decision, but he's very tough, man. I think he is going to surprise Barao."
Multiple Team Alpha Male products have been at the top of the lighter weights for sometime now, and while UFC gold have slipped through their fingers a few times, Faber says it's just a matter of time before they claim a title on the world stage.
"People forget, that for the UFC, the lighter weights have only been around for a short period of time. We have had a lot of shots at those titles, and we are going to continue getting those shots, and we are eventually going to get that belt," he exclaimed, "It's only been like three years since the sport has had the lighter weights. In three years, we have already got a lot of the top contenders, and we are going to get that belt."
Urijah currently doesn't have a fight scheduled, but he is targeting a return sometime around July.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview with Urijah Faber as he talks about the state of Team Alpha Male, Duane Ludwig leaving, and finding a replacement coach.
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