UFC 149 Fight Card: Can Urijah Faber Become a Champion Again?

Vince Carey@@vcareymmaContributor IJuly 17, 2012

Photo Credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

It’s been almost four full years since Urijah Faber lost his WEC title to Mike Brown at WEC 36.

Despite being arguably the most popular fighter in the world under 170 pounds, Faber has been unsuccessful time and time again when he’s tried to get his hands back on a belt, and he may be down to his final opportunity this weekend.

When Urijah Faber fights Renan Barao this weekend not only will the UFC’s interim bantamweight belt be on the line, but Faber’s legacy will be seriously affected as well.

If there’s one thing a fighter never wants to become, it’s the guy that can’t win the big one.

High profile fighters like Kenny Florian and Jon Fitch have had their excellent careers tarnished by their inability to earn a UFC title, and if he’s not careful Faber could end up being the biggest name to have the dishonor of gracing that list.

After losing to Brown back in November of 2008, Faber has earned himself a respectable 5-3 record in the WEC/UFC but all three of those losses have come in title fights, and you have to think the UFC would be reluctant to put “The California Kid” in another championship bout if he falls short against Barao this Saturday.

Luckily for Faber, he may have the tools to pull off the victory over Barao.

Since joining the WEC in June of 2010 Barao has looked dominant, taking out tough competitors in Chris Cariaso, Brad Pickett and most recently Scott Jorgenson in route to his shot at a UFC belt, but he has never fought a fighter with the caliber of skills that Faber possesses.

Barao’s 29 fight unbeaten streak is impressive, as is his ability to finish a fight, but has his level of competition really been good enough to prepare him for Faber?

Pickett and Jorgenson are tough, but Faber is on the next level in the bantamweight division and it could result in a long night for Barao.

Will Faber ever win a UFC title?

Realistically, Urijah Faber still has the skills to be the best fighter in the world at 135 pounds. He took Dominick Cruz to the limit back at UFC 132, and he has an excellent chance at beating anyone in the division anytime he steps inside the Octagon.