During a media scrum after his open workout, Faber was pretty quick to attack Cruz's lack of finishes inside the cage. MMA H.E.A.T. caught Faber spitting his venom at Cruz while in the scrum. You can see it in the video (start from the 5:24 mark).
"He's [Barao] more dangerous than Dominick for sure," Faber told the media. "But, anybody that has one finish in Zuffa is more dangerous than Dominick by the stats. [pauses] It's true."
Talk about fighting words and MMA H.E.A.T.'s Karyn Bryant's dumbfounded "Ouch" pretty much says it all. I don't think anybody was expecting that out of Faber's mouth, it sounded like he took a page out of Chael Sonnen's school of trash talk.
In a sense, there is some truth to Faber's words. Cruz only has one finish in 10 fights under the Zuffa banner and only six finishes in his entire 20 fight career. The one finish while with Zuffa was actually a doctor stoppage, not a knockout or submission. Cruz isn't exactly a finisher, especially when you compare him to Faber who has 21 finishes in 26 wins or Barao with 19 finishes in 28 wins.
Despite the lack of finishes, Cruz is a winner inside the cage. His unorthodox striking style and ability to stay out of danger has put him on a 10-fight winning streak and earned him an impressive record of 19-1-0.
To say Cruz isn't dangerous because the statistics show that he isn't going to ring a guy's bell or break their arm is a fair assessment. However, there is a very good chance his opponents come out on the losing end when in a fight with him and that's a danger right there.
Don't think for one second that Faber is underestimating Barao because he was talking about Cruz. He knows the Brazilian is coming to fight this Saturday and he knows a win isn't a guarantee. But he also knows that a win over Barao puts him on a collision course with Cruz and he doesn't want to let the rivalry die down.
If Faber wins this weekend and continues taking potshots at Cruz in the hopes that the champion reciprocates, by the time their fight finally comes to fruition there should be a ton of hype around the rubber match between these two great fighters.
Normally it's been Cruz that eggs on the war of words between himself and Faber with Faber normally brushing them aside, but Faber has clearly decided to play along. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next 12-18 months should Faber pull through against Barao this weekend.
The rubber match is something I think most fans want to see. Faber submitted Cruz in their first encounter and despite Cruz winning the second fight, he was dropped by Faber on multiple occasions en route to the decision victory.
Barao looks like a tough fight for anybody in the UFC bantamweight division though, including Faber and Cruz. There is no doubt, Barao will be fighting for a title someday, but it would be nice to see the trilogy between Faber and Cruz along with the trash talk leading up to it happen before Barao gets his shot at UFC glory.
Leon Horne enjoys all sports and has a particular interest in MMA; give him a follow on Twitter for more information and keep an eye out for interesting interviews and news, Follow @Leon_Horne