After going on a media tour in the country last year, Urijah Faber has returned to the Philippines. This time, the former WEC featherweight champion is promoting his upcoming headliner against Frankie Edgar he moves back to the division after 5 years at 135 lbs.
"In the last few years, I've been cutting a lot of weight, so that has been somewhat of a focus. On this situation I can actually eat what I want and gain a little weight," Faber told BloodyElbow.com as he spoke about the big changes he will be making. "The other thing is, I will have to adjust to the time.
"I've already given it some thought," he said. "Since I'll be fighting around 10am, that's actually about 30 minutes after our pro practice starts in the morning in Sacramento, so it won't be too difficult to me. I will just have to start getting up earlier and getting up adjusted to the time a little bit."
While most people account for jet lag and travel time as a major factor, Faber says the biggest change here would really be with the switch in divisions.
"It's very different really. At 145 lbs, there are different things to worry about," he explains. "You're fighting bigger guys, and speed is more of a factor for or against you. Other than that, it's basically the same thing in a sense that the division is filled with very skilled guys."
"For me, I'm looking forward to not having to do a terrible weight cut."
As for his upcoming opponent in Edgar, he broke down the match up and does notice major improvements on Frankie's ground and pound game. It also helped that Faber woke up that day with Edgar's bout being broadcasted on Philippine TV.
"I watched (Edgar) in Balls Channel today as he ground and pounded Cub Swanson, so I'll be aware of that," Faber said as he spoke about the match up, "But yeah, I've never been held down in a fight, not once in 39 fights. I've never been submitted in a fight. I don't expect to be submitted or held down in this fight."
"Will it be a factor? Maybe he will be trying to take me down, possibly. But he wants to stand up also, so I'm not really worried about being ground and pounded."
"BJ (Penn) is a very good jiujitsu player and a very good fighter, someone I've always been a fan of, but he's comfortable staying on the ground and doesn't mind being there," he continued. "Cub Swanson is not a grappler by trade. He's a guy that prefers to be standing up, so it's wise for Frankie to take them down to his world."
"He and I are both Division I wrestlers, both top 12 in the nation, and I consider myself a grappler. So if it goes there, I'm very comfortable and I'm excited to go there."
A lot of the talking points when discussing this match up focuses on 'speed'. On that topic, I personally feel like the bigger factor could be how used each of them are to speedy opponents, rather than which guy is actually faster. Faber had a different mindset though.
"At 155 lbs, one of his bigger attributes and things that set him apart was that he was faster than everybody. At '45 he's been on par," Faber said as he talked about the match up in quickness and speed. "Still a pretty fast guy, but more tricky and a lot more dynamic with his takedowns and mixing things together."
"I'm a guy who has always been fast, and I'm also putting on a lot of weight, so I have to make sure that I maintain my speed when I put my weight on."
"I think that could be a factor," he said of being used to fighting faster men than what Edgar is used to. "We'll never know until we get in there, so that's what makes it exciting for me and a lot of people, but there's a lot of 'ifs' and 'buts'."
As for those counting him out this early, he hasn't lost a non-title fight before and he doesn't plan on starting now.
"I've heard people say that I'm the underdog. I'm smaller, a couple of years older. He's a number 1 contender at that weight class, while I'm the number 2 contender at a weight class below," he said, reacting to how people view his upcoming bout. "But it doesn't matter what any guy or what any statistics say, you've never seen Frankie and I fight. I'm planning on getting the win by using any advantage I have, may it be speed, creativity, or a solid chin."
"I'd like to see the stats on which guys have never been finished before I fought them, because there's been so many," he said. "I can think of at least 5 or 6 that has never been stopped and never been finished that I beat."
"That's what I do. I go in there with that mentality. It doesn't matter what happens in the fight, I'm looking to finish that fight."
Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for the 2nd part of our interview with The California Kid. Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena