In October 2016, in his home town of Sacramento, Calif., Urijah Faber announced his retirement from fighting.after defeating Brad Pickett at UFC on FOX 22. On Saturday, "The California Kid" returned to the Octagon to take on Ricky Simon in the co-main event of UFC on ESPN+ 13.
Faber retired in Sacramento and wanted to launch his return there. The crowd at Golden 1 Center showed up to cheer on their native son and Faber didn't disappoint. The 40-year old looked as good as he ever has inside the cage and scored his quickest career finish.
The bout was a dream fight for Simon who grew up watching Faber's career. He took the fight Faber, landing a right hand in the opening seconds that got the UFC Hall of Famer's attention. Simon followed up with a heavy leg kick and pressured Faber. Faber planted on his feet and unloaded a right hand that landed flush on the side of Simon's head sending him crashing to the canvas. Faber went in for the finish and after landing a left hands and an elbow the referee stepped in to stop the fight. Faber's return lasted 46 seconds.
"It makes me feel amazing. I love fighting for Sacramento," said Faber after the first-round finish.
Faber's return to fighting wasn't a one-off deal. He plans to go after the title and answered champion Henry Cejudo's challenge. After Cejudo won the vacant bantamweight title on June 8 at UFC 238 he said that he wanted to fight Faber. UFC president Dana White said he didn't understand Cejudo's call out. During his post-fight interview, Faber responded to both Cejudo and White.
"I think Henry Cejudo called me out a little bit ago, and then I heard that Dana said that I was old. I know Dana White was old when he was 40 but I'm a young man. Dana was old when he was 28. Come on Dana. Look at me," he said.
"Henry, what's up dog. I remember ten years ago when you challenged me to a fight as a friendly gesture. I'm down to get down with that and mix that up," said Faber.
At 40, Faber knows he doesn't have time on his side. He returned now because he felt like he could still do it at an elite level. On Saturday, he proved that he could but the clock is ticking.
"There's only one reason that I do this and that's to test myself against the best in the world," Faber said. "It's a hairy situation out there. I've got to get it now before it's too late."