On Saturday, December 14, 2013, mixed martial arts veteran Urijah Faber will face off against a game opponent in Michael McDonald. Although McDonald is considerably younger and sports a 16-2 record, Faber is a seasoned and technical fighter who has grinded out many of his opponents on his way to becoming a two-year World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion and a UFC pioneer.
According to UFC.com, Faber is the No. 2 ranked bantamweight in the world. A win over McDonald (No. 3) at UFC on Fox 9 will most likely earn the California native another title shot. Faber lost to the current bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz, and the interim champion, Renan Barao, via unanimous decision at UFC 132 and UFC 149, respectively.
However, Faber has put together a three-fight win streak and is confident in his ability to secure the victory over McDonald. In an interview with USA Today Sports (via MMA Junkie), he stated:
….he’s gone to a decision before with guys. There’s guys he hasn’t knocked out. There’s guys that he’s lost to - guys that I’ve fought that he’s lost to….
I’m going to put my will on him. That’s what I’m going to do.
Regarding his opponent at UFC on Fox 9, Faber’s high-level grappling and profound in-Octagon experience should guide him to victory, and to yet another title shot in 2014.
Will Urijah Faber Ever See UFC Gold?
Faber is a former NCAA Division I wrestler and has consistently used his superior grappling and takedowns to stifle his opponents. The latter, combined with his advanced Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills, has garnered him 16 career submission wins. In fact, Faber’s list of high-profile submission victims includes Scott Jorgensen, Brian Bowles, Jens Pulver, Jeff Curran and Cruz.
Therefore, on December 14, it would benefit the “California Kid” to utilize his high-level wrestling and out-grapple McDonald. Submitting and/or grinding out his opponent to a decision victory at UFC on Fox 9 will solidify Faber’s position at the top of his weight class and most likely grant him another shot at the bantamweight title.
Bringing a wealth of experience to the Octagon, Faber has amassed an MMA record of 29-6, having fought professionally 35 times in all. He has been competing in MMA for a little over 10 years, capturing the King of the Cage (KOTC) Bantamweight title in 2004. Under the KOTC banner, Faber remained undefeated and vacated his title as champion.
Then, Faber went on to win the WEC Featherweight Championship in 2006. During his four-year stint with the WEC, the California native only lost to two competitors—Mike Brown and the current UFC featherweight champion, Jose Aldo.
Regarding Faber’s opponent on December 14, nine out of 16 of McDonald’s wins have come by way of knockout. He hits hard and has knocked out the likes of former WEC champion Miguel Torres and a formidable Manny Tapia. However, Faber’s ability to put together combinations and utilize a wide array of his arsenal makes him a dangerous opponent. His experience in longer bouts and against more talented opponents will assist in his victory at UFC on Fox 9.
Urijah Faber’s Dubious Future
Despite his current three-fight win streak, Faber’s last five defeats have come in UFC or WEC championship matchups—losing to Barao, Cruz, Aldo and Brown (twice). Although a trailblazer in the sport of MMA, at 34 years old, time is not on the California Kid’s side. His age, accompanied by Faber’s last four failed attempts to secure a championship title, leaves him on the verge of gatekeeper status.
Therefore, Faber should have no problem being motivated for this fight. He will still have his eyes on the title, much like any fighter with his history in the sport would. A win on Saturday night keeps him in the conversation for the belt.