Urijah Faber had one of the very best years of his career, in 2013, but began his 2014 with a loss when he lost a short-notice title rematch against Renan Barao in February. That's why it felt so good to get back on the winning track last Saturday at UFC 175 with a third round rear naked choke submission over Alex Caceres.
"I needed to get back in there," Faber tells Cagewriter.
"I took [the rematch with Barao] on short notice, went in there with an injury and then there was the early stoppage. I needed to get back in the win column and get back to doing what I do best, which is dominating and getting onto bigger and better things. It feels great winning again."
Faber feels right mentally but his body still has some healing to do before he'll be ready to step back into the cage. "Unfortunately, I hurt my rib," he reveals.
"I don’t know if it is torn cartilage or broken. They took x-rays and it didn’t look broken to me but the doctors are actually looking at it today and then they will give me a heads up. So, I don’t know yet as far recovery time, all I know is that my rib hurts. I tend to want to get in there pretty quick, barring injury. Unfortunately, I’m injured right now."
Whenever Faber is cleared to resume training after his rib has healed, he is clear that he wants to be on to "bigger and better things." What is less than clear is if bigger and better means the UFC bantamweight title.
Faber was once the featherweight world title but since dropping down to bantamweight, he has not been able to wrest away a second championship, despite several cracks at the belt. Now, a man he recruited to his Team Alpha Male, TJ Dillashaw reigns atop the 135 pound division after beating Barao last month.
TJ Dillashaw and Faber both have skirted the issue of their potentially fighting one another in the future, but neither have spoken definitively about whether or not they would consider fighting each other. We ask Faber straight out if he would rule out the possibility of fighting his friend and teammate and he did not.
"You know, the only way that fight would happen is if TJ Dillashaw asked me to do it," Faber says.
"The only reason it would happens is if it were something that Dana, Lorenzo, everybody thinks is a must-see and they want to make it worth our while. I don’t necessarily feel like it’s something I want to do. I guess you never rule anything out but it’s not something that I want to do."
If "The California Kid" and Dillashaw were to ever fight, Faber insists it won't be because of his own ambition to be number one, again. "Everybody that really knows me knows that for me, the goal isn’t necessarily having a title again," Faber explains.
"I would love to be considered the best in the world. That’s why I do this and why I love to do it but the world title doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the best – it is just symbolic of it."