VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Urijah Faber has won plenty in his fighting career, once reigning as arguably the world’s best featherweight long before the UFC implemented that division and then competing for titles inside the Octagon multiple times.
An actual UFC championship win has eluded Faber, and while he comes from a successful amateur wrestling background, he went into MMA after graduating from UC-Davis as opposed to attempting to pursue international glory. Faber retired from fighting in 2016 only to make a successful return 30 months later with a win over Ricky Simon this past July.
The 40-year-old has since been thrown into the mix as a possible opponent for current bantamweight and flyweight champion Henry Cejudo—who has also occasionally mentioned the gold medal he won for wrestling at the 2008 Beijing Olympics—and should a fight with the self-proclaimed “King of Cringe” materialize, Faber sees it as his chance to quickly fill in some gaps in his trophy case.
“Henry Cejudo’s got the world strap, a couple of them, and an Olympic gold medal, which I actually never set my goals on as a young wrestler. I probably should have,” Faber said at a fan Q&A at Rogers Arena on Friday, when asked about potentially fighting Cejudo. “But that’s enticing, to snatch up a couple of belts and a gold medal and silence the cringe, would be a great step in the right direction for me and I think it’s a great matchup.
“He’s naturally a ‘25-pounder, I’m a big ‘35-pounder. He’s got the wrestling pedigree, I’ve got better jiu-jitsu. He breaks guys and I don’t break, so I think that’s a good matchup.”
Faber isn’t the only legend that Cejudo has challenged. Longtime Faber rival and former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is also in Cejudo’s sights, though Cruz has reacted with bewilderment at Cejudo’s habit of posting outlandish clips on social media to call out his opponents and his presumably lighthearted attempts to set up intergender bouts with UFC titleholders Valentina Shevchenko and Zhang Weili.
As to the question of whether there’s a method to Cejudo’s madness, Faber offered his two cents.
“I’ve known Henry for a long time. I think it’s kind of smart what he’s doing actually,” Faber said. “Henry is trying to do something that’s important to me, which is re-establish the 125-pound weight class. I don’t think it was fair for him to put blame on (former UFC flyweight champion) Demetrious (Johnson), one of the best champions of all-time for not holding it down, but he’s getting a bunch of people to talk about him.
“Right after my fight, my comeback fight, I mentioned his name. He’s got Dominick Cruz, one of the best fighters in the history of the division, of all-time, speaking about him. He’s got the girls speaking about him for all the wrong reasons, which we knew that was gonna happen. He’s trying to get some clout, get some recognition, and he’s going to get himself beat up most likely. He called me out, one week later I answered the call, and then he starts calling out girls and looking at birds and everything else, so if he wants it, he can get it.”