Despite Team Alpha Male teammates Urijah Faber and Cody Garbrandt agreeing not to fight each other, rival Dominick Cruz believes 'The California Kid' wouldn't hesitate to accept the fight if the opportunity presented itself. Not only that, but Cruz believes Faber would handily beat the young protege.
"Faber's the type of guy that if you match him up with anyone in the top five, he's still up there, he'll still compete with them," Cruz said at the UFC 199 media scrum, per Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting. "I think he beats his boy Cody ‘No Love,' and I think he beats a couple other guys in this division, in the top five, the top 10."
Cruz, who will defend his bantamweight title in a trilogy fight against Faber at UFC 199, also believes Garbrandt would be willing to accept the fight and says he shares a different relationship with Faber to that of former TAM product, T.J. Dillashaw. Dillashaw left the California-based team last year and is now training with Duane Ludwig in Colorado.
"I think Cody actually has a pair on him that he'd say, ‘yeah, I'll knock you out too Faber,'" Cruz said. "I think Cody has that kind of demeanor, whereas T.J. had this weird, big brother, little brother thing, T.J. kind of looked up to him. The truth is, Faber didn't want to fight T.J. for the belt because he didn't want to lose to his little brother."
Garbrandt emerged as a new star within the bantamweight division when he brutalised Thomas Almeida at UFC Fight Night 88 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The budding prospect knocked out Almeida in the first round and will likely catapult to title contention if he wins his next fight.
Win or lose against Cruz, it's a very real possibility that Faber's and Garbrandt's paths could soon cross in the future. Should the fight come to fruition, 'The Dominator' believes Faber poses a serious stylictic threat to No love.
"I just think there's a different style matchup there," Cruz said. "I think he knows Cody, too. I think that while Cody is very good, I just think that, I break down fights differently, I see things a little different you know? Eventually those two are going to end up having to see each other, and if I had to pick one I would probably go with Faber."
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber III will feature as the co-main event for this Saturday's UFC 199 pay-per-view at The Forum in Inglewood, California.