Urijah Faber: 5 Fights We'd Love to See the California Kid Take
Outside of championship bouts, Urijah Faber is one of the very best fighters in the world.
His ability to pressure opponents from round to round often separates him from a hungry pack of bantamweight wolves. Not to mention he's one of the most efficient tactical game-planners in the sport today.
However, it has been tough for the 34-year-old to get over the championship hump in the UFC. He accomplished so much during his time with the WEC, but those glory days are consistently overshadowed by his inability to win a belt within his current domain.
In any case, the fight must go on, and Faber must find a way to remain relevant in a top-heavy division ruled by a champion who has already beaten him twice.
With that in mind, here are five fights we'd love to see "The California Kid" take next.
5. The Winner of Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens
Faber doesn't necessarily have to stay put in the bantamweight division. You're going to find that out as this list goes on.
With a storied career at featherweight, the former WEC kingpin knows how to fight the bigger fight. He isn't the most physically imposing 145-pound threat on the planet, but his athleticism more than makes up for his lack of size.
Needless to say, Faber still has enough left in the tank to take on some of the best fighters in the featherweight division right now. This includes budding contenders Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens, who are scheduled to do battle at UFC Fight Night 44 next month.
Swanson is obviously the bigger draw for a guy like Faber and more than likely the easier matchup, but that doesn't mean he'd opt to challenge a guy who hasn't lost since 2011.
Either way, it would be a perfect opportunity for the Team Alpha Male captain to step out of his own divisional pond and makes waves in an ocean he once ruled.
4. Frankie Edgar
Even the most diehard of B.J. Penn fans would be shocked if "The Prodigy" upset Frankie Edgar in July.
That means it's fairly easy to assume that Edgar will have another featherweight win under his belt by mid-summer.
As two of the most popular small guys the UFC has at their disposal today, Edgar and Faber would be a dynamite matchup for any fight card, especially the UFC's end-of-year December bash.
That's the same card that could very well feature the return of Anderson Silva.
Regardless, seeing these two ex-champions wage war would be epically pleasing. It would be a battle of the two best contenders unable to fight for a title, except maybe Vitor Belfort and Junior dos Santos.
It's hard to say who would win, but a victory for Faber could very well land him a rematch with champion Jose Aldo—assuming the Brazilian is able to get past Faber's teammate, Chad Mendes, at UFC 176 in August.
3. Conor McGregor
Who in their right mind wouldn't want to see this clash?
Conor McGregor has been crying to get a top name in the UFC. Why not throw him into the lion's den with a stud like Faber?
Beating the Irish phenom wouldn't do much for Faber's title hopes, but it would give the UFC a chance to showcase one of their most prized youngsters against one of their most durable veterans.
It would be tough for Faber to stand with the leaner and more versatile McGregor, but I'm sure his wrestling skills and submission prowess would play a major role in where the fight went.
It's a fight that would be more fan pleasing than career making for a guy of Faber's stature, but for anyone who knows how good "Notorious" truly is, defeating him would be no small task.
A victory would most certainly land Faber a spot in a bout for the No. 1 contendership with the winner of the aforementioned Swanson vs. Stephens fight in June.
However, if Cole Miller somehow bulldozes McGregor in July, this slide can be tossed aside like an empty McDonald's wrapper.
2. Jose Aldo
Aldo practically kicked Faber's leg off when the two met for the WEC featherweight title back in 2010.
It was one of Aldo's most memorable performances and a title loss Faber would love to avenge.
As it stacks up right now, "The California Kid" would have to do a little bit of work before the Brazilian would entertain a rematch.
With that being said, as big of a star as Faber is, it wouldn't surprise many if the UFC gave him a shot at Aldo after just one win at 145.
There's no telling how a second meeting between these two stars would go, but Faber would probably fair a little better considering his career resurgence over the past two years.
This is the perfect scenario for the UFC to keep one of their biggest cash cows at the forefront of a division and fighting for promotional gold.
1. Dominick Cruz
This fight just makes so much sense.
Not just for Dominick Cruz and Faber's trilogy, but also to shed some light on the bantamweight title picture.
Is Cruz ready to come back and fight the best in the division? Or is Faber just that good that he deserves another shot at Renan Barao's strap?
These are the questions that could be answered once Cruz and Faber wage war for a third time. Many would consider this an unfair situation for the former UFC champion to return to, but Cruz strikes me as the guy that wants the biggest fight available.
Considering he's not going to limp back into a title fight with Barao, why not test the waters against Faber and make the UFC some hefty cash in the process?
As for the actual fight, Faber would have to be favored by a significant amount. He's been one of the most active fighters in the UFC over the past few years and would be going up against a former pound-for-pound standout that hasn't competed since he beat Demetrious Johnson in October 2011.
My prediction would be Faber by unanimous decision, giving him another reason to get one final shot at Barao's throne.
For more UFC news and coverage, Follow @DHiergesell