The Interrogation is a semi-regular feature where The MMA Manifesto interrogates some of the world’s best MMA fighters. Next up is WEC (soon to be UFC) legend Urijah Faber who discusses life as a bantamweight.
MMA Manifesto: So are you ecstatic about your performance in your bantamweight debut at WEC 52?
Urijah Faber: Yeah, it felt good. It was nice to have that weight cut down and out of the way and prove to everyone that I wasn’t BSing – I mean it really is my most competitive weight and I think people can see that I looked just as strong and faster and that I was about the same size, really.
MM: And it’s not like you were fighting a chump, either, Takeya Mizugaki is a good fighter.
UF: Yeah – he had a close fight with (Miguel) Torres. A close fight with Scottie Jorgensen and (Jeff) Curran and Rani Yahya. He’s no joke. I wanted to make a statement and I think I did.
MM: Did you even take any damage in the fight?
UF: I hurt my shoulder when I was on his back and we fell to the ground. It was just a feak thing. I hurt my AC joint. I’ve got a week and a half of icing and just staying off of it. Other than that, I feel great.
MM: So is 135 lbs (bantamweight) your fighting weight from here on out?
UF: Yeah it’s going to be my fighting weight for sure. I want to get the belt and establish myself and do some of the “superfights” after that.
MM: Do you have to cut a lot of weight to fight at bantamweight?
UF: I usually walk about 154, 155, 156 even.
MM: So you really weren’t cutting much weight when you were a featherweight (145 lbs), were you?
UF: No, hardly at all. I was cutting about 8 lbs. I don’t know about most guys but I know a lot of guys (cut) from near 165, 170. I was close to like 165.
MM: Why didn’t you fight at bantamweight all along?
UF: Well when I started fighting there was no bantamweight. They wanted me to fight at 155 at first. I had to make a stand after my first two fights and say, hey, I’m going to fight at 145. The UFC didn’t even had 155 at the time. So I had no choice. But then I became the world champ (as a featherweight) and then I was in title contention – it’s hard to turn that down. Most people don’t really think about that, the fact that I became world champ before there was a 135 pound weight class.
MM: So who’s next for you?
UF: I have no clue. They don’t really tell me too much but I’ll just be ready to rock, man, I’m ready to fight everybody.
MM: A potential “superfight” versus Miguel Torres has long been rumoured. Would that be something you’d be interested in?
UF: Yeah, I think that’s a fight that people want to see. I would do that. Fighting for the title of course would be a big one. And then maybe they could get Kid Yamamoto back over here to fight. That would be another big one that they could promote.
MM: Do you feel you are still at least one fight away from getting a title shot?
UF: There’s talks of doing a reality show, all that stuff is going to play a factor – if they do that, if they don’t do that. Who wins this next fight (Dominick Cruz vs Scott Jorgensen for the title). There’s some things we have to wait and see.
MM: Would you ever consider fighting against one of your teammates? You and Joseph Benavidez are in the same weight class now.
UF: No, I wouldn’t want to.
MM: Even if it was for the belt?
UF: No, I wouldn’t really want to do that. I don’t fight for belts. The only reason I fight is because I love doing it. I wouldn’t really love hitting my buddy in the face and trying to take his head off (laughs).
MM: Do you think the WEC-UFC merger is a positive development?
UF: Yeah, I’m excited about that, man. I think it’s going to be great. It will be good for all of us. Everyone involved is going to do good out of that deal except for guys who are getting cut anyways from the WEC. This is survival of the fittest.
MM: While it should be good for a guy like you who is already established, what about up and coming guys at the bottom of the WEC roster?
UF: I think the guys that are going to be exciting fighters – the ones that put on a great show – should be the ones that get that opportunity and I think that will happen. You can’t hide from action – it puts the pressure on guys.
MM: You probably wish this merger had happened at the starting of your career so you could have been picking up those big UFC bonus cheques.
UF: Yeah, that would have been great (laughs). It’s been a long time in the making. I had a pretty good deal being the guy that was really pushed in the WEC so I can’t complain too much.