But Faber’s loss to Renan Barao at UFC 149 is more proof that his days as a contender are coming to an end.
With two losses in title fights in the UFC and a five-fight losing streak in all title bouts, Faber has come up nothing but short in the big moments in the latter years of his career.
During the post-fight press conference, Faber talked about where he goes from here after another hard loss in a championship match, per MMA Weekly (via Yahoo! Sports):
I don't know. I fought a guy on a huge win streak and didn't get it done. I fought Dominick (Cruz), who is considered the champ right now, as well. I'm right there, it's just a matter of continuing to heal up and then reassess this thing.
While Faber may not know why he keeps losing, the fans and experts who love MMA know exactly what this loss means: Urijah Faber has become nothing more than a gatekeeper for bantamweight division.
Should Urijah Faber retire soon?
Don’t get me wrong, Faber is still one of the biggest names in MMA history. He can get people to watch and buy an event. The problem is that he cannot be the main event anymore.
Faber has been relegated to co-main-eventing shows like Wanderlei Silva and Tito Ortiz. The UFC can still sell his name but can't depend on his lackluster fights to satisfy the crowd.
With decision losses and slow-paced fights, Faber is not endearing himself to UFC president Dana White either. White wants battles in his main events, not decisions that leave the crowd upset.
Just like many of the other veterans of the Octagon that have passed their prime, Faber will be the test for up-and-coming stars. If they want to be considered for title contention, they will have to get through Faber.
Hence the gatekeeper talk.
Maybe if Faber strings together three wins again the UFC will consider giving him another title shot. But it would only result in another lackluster title match with Faber losing.
We’ve had enough of that.