We all knew that the lead-up to Dominick Cruz – Urijah Faber III was going to be intense, and the rivals certainly haven’t disappointed in that respect (if you like some pre-fight drama / trash talk of course).
Yes, for weeks now, the rivalry between Cruz and Faber has been revving in high gear and that hasn’t changed during fight week. Cruz has repeatedly criticized the skill set of Faber, and he’s also taken issue with the latter’s argument he’s been fighting the best-of-the-best.
Case in point, recently Cruz told FOX Sports.com the following:
“He’s always been somebody that could fight, that could go out there against top-15 guys. That’s what he does. He’s very strategic in the fights he’s taken over the last four years while I’ve been hurt…
“It’s marketing that he chooses his fights according to. It’s not really according to what’s best for the bantamweight division or to make him a world champion. It’s about what makes him look best for his own business. So he chooses top-15 guys and he looks pretty decent against them, but any time he faces somebody that’s top three in the world, they expose him and that’s what I plan to do when I fight him.”
Ouch. Now obviously Faber and his extensive fanbase look at it a different way. The only 135’er who has defeated “The California Kid” since Cruz did in 2011 is Renan Barao. Faber was also decisioned by Frankie Edgar, but that fight took place at 145. The only other men (besides Cruz) who have defeated Faber to date are Mike Brown and Tyson Griffin, and those fights also took place above 135.
Has Faber been taking out a lot of top ranked bantamweights more recently? No. But there’s no denying he’s been written off as a legit title contender in the past, and has always rebounded. Can Faber defeat the greatest bantamweight ever, however, and finally lay claim to UFC gold? It’s a tall order.