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Urijah Faber was barely able to walk when he left the ARCO Arena on Saturday after losing a bid for the World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight title in the main event of a magnificent card.
Faber went to the hospital, not the postfight news conference, after losing a unanimous decision to Jose Aldo. He has a very bad bruise on his leg, but is fine and will be able to return.
Faber showed by the way he handled himself in defeat why he's been the WEC's poster boy for the last several years. He's always been an action-first fighter, but he showed his grace under pressure by posting an incredibly classy six-minute video on his website in which he spoke about the fight.
He congratulated Aldo, defended Aldo against criticisms about Aldo's failure to finish the fight, explained his game plan, thanked the fans for their support and promised to fight on.
"It was a tough fight," Faber said on his video. "All the props to Jose Aldo. He's the toughest dude in the world at 145 pounds. He did a great job of using his leg kicks to break me down and that won him the fight."
Many wondered why Faber, a one-time collegiate wrestler, didn't shoot on Aldo and get him to the ground. Faber said that was ultimately his plan, but he injured his leg before he could execute it.
"I wanted to go out and establish that I could match his speed and that I also had standup skills, so he had to honor that in order to set up my takedowns," Faber said. "You don't just go in and take down someone like Jose Aldo without making sure you've set it up. That was my plan.
"… He got to my leg before I could start doing any of that. That shut me down real quick. Looking back at it, I could have tried real desperately for a takedown in the first round, but that's going to be hard on a fresh guy who's (worked on) defending takedowns every day in practice. It's just not going to happen like that. I'm realistic about that. I thought it was important to stand a little bit and I was immobilized before I got a chance (to try to take him down)."
Faber said the criticism Aldo has received for not finishing the fight is misguided.
"There are only two people (Tyson Griffin and Mike Brown) who finished a fight with me in 27 fights," Faber said. "It's not like I'm an easy guy to finish. … The closest he got was some heavy body shots. I was rocked with some solar plexus shots, rib shots, kidney shots and liver shots a couple of different times in the fight. He was trying. It was a rough fight. When you have the best guys in the world, it's not real simple just to decide to finish a fight."
With that, let's get to the mailbag and I'll respond to your questions and comments.
Do you think Tito Ortiz' career is about to end after he was arrested Monday for beating up (his girlfriend), Jenna Jameson? I hope UFC president Dana White doesn't give Tito a second chance after this.
Ortiz was arrested Monday in the Huntington Beach, Calif., home he shares with Jameson on suspicion of felony domestic violence. It's far too early to say what should occur, but the legal process needs to play itself out. Ortiz has not been convicted of a thing. The UFC has the leeway to cut him in a situation like this, but it's not fair to do so at this stage. Right now, it's only unsupported allegations. Once there are facts, and charges, and a trial, and a conviction, then something should be done. But he's innocent until proven guilty and should be treated that way.
Do you think Urijah Faber will ever rebound from this lopsided loss? I just can't see him reinventing himself after this. I hope he can. What are your thoughts?
Fort Worth, Texas
Faber is one of the elite fighters in the world and will continue to be. I don't think he'll regain the featherweight title, because it was proven conclusively on Saturday that Aldo is a cut above him, but Faber can be a big factor in the featherweight division in the future. He also said he could drop to bantamweight.
Do you think it's possible that the WEC could turn into a minor league for UFC? To me it would make a lot of sense to move the 135- and 145-pound divisions to the UFC and have the WEC serve as a minor league where new prospects can develop and fighters who are cut by the UFC could get another chance. Additionally, I think it would help the overseas expansion of MMA by having a smaller promotion to complement the UFC by having events in smaller venues/markets. What are your thoughts on the future of the WEC?
I've been on record advocating a merger between the UFC and the WEC, but I don't think that's going to happen any time soon. Regardless, I don't think the UFC is interested in running any sort of developmental league. I think they're focused on the top end and they'll find fighters in promotions run by others. My expectation is that the WEC will proceed as it has been for the time being.
I read on the 'net that James Toney's first UFC fight might be against Randy Couture. I don't understand why this would be. Isn't it the job of the matchmaker to make good fights? It seems that a logical first opponent for Toney would be a fighter who is primarily a striker or a fighter who is as equally one-dimensional as he is, not a well-rounded fighter like Couture.
I have very little interest in this fight and think it's completely ridiculous. Toney has never stepped inside a cage before and he's going to compete with one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time? Please. I don't get the logic in that. Couture gains little by beating an MMA neophyte, but he could suffer badly if he gets beaten by one. But it figures to be a one-sided match that Couture finishes early.
I was wondering who decides the pound-for-pound rankings on Yahoo! Sports? I noticed you guys had Jose Aldo ranked sixth going into his fight with Faber. Am I the only one who finds that odd? I think it's pretty widely accepted that we judge fighters based on their resumes, not on their potential? I know the man is vastly talented and the rankings are usually a culmination of a fighter's last four or five fights Aldo's resume isn't even really than great. Faber and Brown are the only Top 10 fighters Jose has beaten and add that to the fact that the featherweight division is still relatively green. The talent there has not quite caught up to the mainstream divisions yet.
The rankings are a vote of around 20 MMA writers from various media outlets and are compiled by our Dave Doyle. Aldo has won 10 in a row, is 17-1 overall and has beaten high quality opponents back-to-back in Brown and Faber. He's a complete fighter and he holds a major title. I think he deserves to be where he is, if not higher.
The WEC (Urijah Faber especially) is what got me hooked on MMA. I was excited for the promotion and the fighters when I first learned of the PPV show. With that being said, I was somewhat disappointed with the overbearing UFC promotion on the PPV card. It was simply not a WEC-promoted fight. Obvious changes like the commentators and ring announcer aside, there weren't even any WEC logos anywhere. Not on the mat, the cage, the gloves, or the screen graphics. There was a fan with a WEC shirt on near cage side, but that was it. Bruce Buffer didn't even mention the title fights were "WEC" title fights. I feel like I just watched the death of a promotion that got me to love MMA. I think it would be smart of the UFC to keep the WEC brand alive, expand the weight divisions in both the WEC (up to heavyweight) and UFC (down to bantamweight), and use the WEC as a constant TV presence and a promotion to build up prospects to bring in the UFC.
The lack of WEC branding was so that the preliminaries could be shown on Spike TV. But UFC president Dana White made the decision to run it like a UFC pay-per-view show in order to maximize the pay-per-view sales. I had no problem with how they ran it. I'm not a big fan of pay-per-view, and would rather see less of it than more, but running the show as it was did no damage to the fighters, in my opinion.