I caught up with UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber at NAAFS Rock n Rumble 8 in Canton, Ohio where he was most accommodating to his adoring fans taking pictures, answering questions, and being pretty much all-around dreamy. I asked the California Kid if he had a couple of minutes for MiddleEasy and he was all smiles and answered with a big “Yeah, man! What’s up?”
He was cool enough to pull me backstage—much to the dismay/jealousy of many (all?) of the female Ohioans—and grant me this interview.
Read our interview where we discuss he place in title contention, his general dislike for Dominick Cruz, Aldo’s superpowers, and what songs the UFC blocked him from using.
With Dominick Cruz back in the picture, how many fights do you feel you’re away from the title?
“Well I know that I’m really close. If you look at the actual world rankings, and kind of the way things have panned out over the years, I’ve been in the Top Ten for the last eleven years now; and mostly between 1 and 3. So, that’s where I’m at now, so I can’t be far off.”
Do you genuinely dislike Cruz, or would you say it’s more of a just business situation?
“I don’t think we really like each other.”
Where does the bad blood come from?
“We’ve had to spend a lot of time together over the years. It all steams from the first time I fought him, way back in the day, when he was kind of disrespectful, and I felt like, [Cruz] a little bit of a punk. And then he kinda continued that attitude for a long time. But, we got to spend some time together, and got to know each other, and I think it’s mutual that we don’t really like each other.”
So would you say you’d be eying him up for your next fight?
“I wouldn’t mind that—that’s for sure. But I think he’s probably going to get a shot against TJ. Ya know, he was the champion before, and he had a performance that, in my opinion, showed that he’s, ya know, looking good at least. He had his first finish since, ever, in the WEC or the UFC. So that’s good for him, I’m sure it felt good. Ya know, it’s funny, he’s been out three years, and he had three years to think of something witty, and he came up with “Alpha Fail.” He’s like a third grader, but we all expected that.”
Speaking of Team Alpha Male, the team is known for its tight-knit bond and wrestling, what else do you think Team Alpha Male should also be known for?
“I don’t think it’s been known for wrestling—it’s been known for finishes; and we have some strong wrestlers, and that’s one thing we’ve been for the last, probably, four to five years, one of the top finishers in the Zuffa organization as far as a team goes. And we’re the best winning [team] as well. But we’re guys who work extremely hard and have really positive attitudes. It’s a mindful thing, it’s not just ‘we got lucky,’we really work on making sure that we’re having fun and that life’s enjoyable. Because that’s an important part of a hard lifestyle; as fighters it’s hard, so ya gotta have fun.”
You’re known for walking out to California Love, but what songs have the UFC shot down for your walkout?
“They originally shot down California Love. They shot that down when I was fighting in the WEC, and I made a stand, and I said ‘Hey, look, you guys are about promoting the fights, let me worry about what I think is cool for me.’ And that first time I walked out to that was against Jens Pulver, in my hometown. After that, I tried to [use] I’m Going Back to Cali once, and then I tried to do, I think, Californication a couple times, but Dana [White] was like ‘Nah, you’re :California Love. Period.’”
Aldo or Mendes?
“I gotta go with my boy Mendes. He’s been improving so much over the years—he’s been on a tear. Both of those guys are really, really gifted athletes. I had the privilege of fighting Aldo, and feeling how prowess; and I have the honor to go with Chad every day, and the guy’s a beast, man. Those are two of the toughest guys I’ve ever been put against. So, ya know, it’s going to be a knock-down/drag-out. I think Aldo has the leg kick as his superpower, and Chad has the double-leg as his super power, so it’s going to be interesting.”