November 12, 2010
There were no stamina or motivational issues tonight for Urijah Faber. In his first fight down at 135 pounds, Urijah Faber sent a nasty message to the rest of the division. He seized an opening, jumped on Takeyu Mizugaki's back and put him to sleep. The Japanese fighter refused to tap to a rear-naked choke and was left in a zombie-like state by the time referee Josh Rosenthal waved off the fight. Faber wins the main event in Las Vegas at the 4:50 mark of the first round at WEC 52.
Following the quick win, Faber (23-4, 9-3 WEC) was fired up. He sent a clear message to the current champ Dominick Cruz.
"I wanted to finish. I'm a finisher, I think that's what this division needs," Faber told Versus' Craig Hummer.
Update: Faber won submission of the night and a $10,000 bonus.
Update II: Faber told the media that he's going to split his bonus money with teammate Joe Benavidez, who also scored a submission finish in his victory over Waggney Fabiano.
Cruz, the WEC bantamweight champ has a seven-fight win streak, but five of those victories have come by decision. Who handed the 25-year-old his only loss? Faber did back in 2007 at 145 pounds. Cruz will defend the WEC belt one more time in December against Scott Jorgensen. If he does so successfully, it would be a natural for Faber and Cruz to meet in the first UFC bantamweight title fight sometime in 2011.
"We're going to the UFC after this. It's been an awesome run with the WEC," Faber said. "It's time to step it up and get my belt in the UFC."
Faber was the biggest star in the WEC for years. Sporting a three-year unbeaten from 2005-2008, he carried the promotion. Then fighters got a little bigger at 145 pounds and Faber found it difficult to compete. At 5-foot-6, he's a natural down at 135.
"I've been in title contention for like six years now. When I first started fighting there was no 135-pound weight class. So it's not like I had the choice. I was just the best guy at 145," Faber said. "So now it's my time to shine down here. I'm at my most competitive weight. It's my time. It's a new era baby!"
This was an impressive win considering the caliber of competition. Mizugaki (13-5-2, 2-3 WEC) has faced the best of the best in the WEC, that includes going the distance with former 135 champ Miguel Torres. He's a tough cookie and wasn't about to tap.
"The Japanese have that fighting spirit," Faber said. "This guy is known as a guy who goes to the very end. I knew I'd have to do something drastic and put him out and I did."
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