COMMENTARY | At UFC 169, former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) featherweight champion Urijah Faber (30-6) finds himself in a must-win situation. In 2012, Faber dropped a title bout to current UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao and has lost every single championship title bout dating back to 2008. Therefore, at UFC 169, the 11-year veteran not only fights for a world title, but for his legacy as well.
On Saturday in Newark, the California native will attempt to avenge his loss to Barao and become champion of a highly talented and deeply stacked division. At UFC 149, Faber fought for the interim UFC bantamweight title, but lost to Barao via unanimous decision. UFC 169 will not only highlight his second opportunity to face Barao, but will also mark the sixth time that the "California Kid" has fought with the title on the line in the past six years. Faber has lost his last five championship matchups to Barao, Dominick Cruz at UFC 132, Jose Aldo at WEC 48, and Mike Brown at WEC 41 and at WEC 36, respectively.
Nevertheless, the 34-year-old is dismissive of these losses and chooses to focus on the positive. According to Michael Stets of MMAMania.com, regarding his last string of championship losses, Faber stated:
"Every loss in every fight is a different scenario. One fight I had broken hands, one fight I thought that I won against Dominick Cruz. Jose Aldo battered my leg and he is now, in my opinion, pound-for-pound the best in the world at the weight above me. There's always little things that people can look at. If you want to just look at pure statistics and say 'well this is what happened here,' that's just kind of the ignorant way to think, and I don't think like that…."
"When you put out positive energy, and you think good and let the negative stuff fall off your back and you don't pay any attention good things happen, and I'm a testament to that."
Faber sports an 83 percent win rate, and more than half of his victories (17) have come by way of submission. The former NCAA Division I wrestler is a consummate fighter. He varies his fight style and is able to take down many of his opponents at will. Faber combines his wrestling with Brazilian jiu-jitsu incredibly well, which has led him on a four-fight winning streak.
However, if Faber loses at UFC 169, he will more than likely not be granted another title shot and leave himself on the verge of gatekeeper status. Therefore, the California Kid faces a tremendous amount of pressure, as he enters into what is almost certainly his last shot at a UFC world title.
Clinton Bullock is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner and has studied mixed martial arts for many years. He has been published in Yahoo News, Bleacher Report, Philadelphia Sunday Sun Newspaper, and Next Step Magazine. Follow him on MMAUnchained.net, Facebook & Twitter @clintonbullock.
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- Dominick Cruz