UFC 132 Results: Is Urijah Faber Still a Title-Contender in the UFC?
At the end of the night, there were already murmurs of a rematch and a third bout in their trilogy after Faber and Cruz's Fight of the Night performance.
So even if the UFC decides to delay their seemingly inevitable third encounter, in favor of a title defense against Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez or Brian Bowles, Faber is still destined to get another crack at Cruz in the near future.
Despite a defeat, Faber proved last Saturday that he's still a force to be reckoned with in the 135-pound division.
Here are a few reasons why "The California Kid" is still a contender for his first UFC belt.
Natural Weight Class
In his previous two fights against Takeya Mizugaki and Eddie Wineland, Urijah Faber showed that he is way better suited for his natural weight class of 135.
Against Dominick Cruz Saturday, Faber further showed that despite being in the later stages of his career at 35, he can still take the champ to his limit.
At this weight class Faber still has a lot of power behind his punches, landing significantly more power punches than Cruz, knocking him during the fight.
Had he been more of the aggressor rather than waiting to counter Cruz's "awkward" style, the results might have turned out differently.
At Bantamweight, he proved that he's more than worthy competition for Cruz, unlike his last bout at Featherweight against current champ Jose Aldo.
Unlike the Featherweight division, which just got a little more crowded with the additions of Kenny Florian, Tyson Griffin and Joe Stevenson, Faber has a much better chance of staying relevant in the Bantamweight division.
Faber found his niche at 135 and when he meets Cruz again in the future, he might finally get that UFC title he's been wanting for so long.
One of the biggest reasons why the fight between Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz was considered close was because of the power punches Faber landed on Cruz.
Dominick Cruz may have had the higher volume and bigger array of strikes, but Faber landed the more significant power shots.
He rocked Cruz on a couple occasions and even knocked him down and once again, had he been more aggressive, the outcome could have been drastically different.
In the Bantamweight division and much of the lighter divisions, fights are faster paced and exciting, however lack a lot of the knockout power you see in the heavier weight classes.
In comparison to Cruz however, Faber might have more finishing power. Since his first defeat at the hands of Faber back in 2007, Cruz has gone the distance seven times, including this last fight, out of nine fights.
Faber may not have earned his last few victories by knockout or technical knockout either, but as he proved against Cruz in their Fight of the Night, he has the power to put Cruz down.
As corny as it may sound, Urijah Faber is one of the most determined fighters in the UFC.
Faber definitely wants to taste what its like to be a UFC Champion after having been the poster boy for the now defunct WEC for so long.
So after having his chance to win back his WEC Featherweight title right before it would become the UFC Featherweight title and losing it, he made the smart decision, dropping down to a more natural Bantamweight.
Now, fresh off the heels of a close decision, many expect Faber to blitz his way back to the number one contender's spot if he is not granted an immediate rematch.
The guy just doesn't seem like he'll give up until he wins a title, hell, he even fought Mike Brown to a decision with one broken right hand and a dislocated left thumb.