“Being a competitor throughout my life has definitely helped me when I’m on the big stage,” says Urijah Faber. For the California Kid, the stage has never been bigger than it will be Saturday, July 2, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. His second UFC appearance is sure to be a thriller, as Faber takes on Bantamweight champion Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz in the UFC 132 main event.
Faber made his UFC debut less than four months ago with a unanimous decision over former WEC Bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland. This time around, the UFC newcomer will face a familiar foe in Cruz. Four years ago, Faber successfully defended his World Extreme Cagefighting Featherweight title by defeating Cruz with a guillotine choke in the first round.
In 2007, Faber was the heavy favorite against the novice Cruz. Since then, the tables have turned, and Cruz is expected to defend his title with a multi-faceted attack comprising his lethal striking ability, precise timing and superior speed.
But those who know the sport appreciate Faber’s nonstop motor and endless heart. His greatest advantage could be a mental edge over Cruz, stemming from the 2007 defeat by submission.
The memory of that dreadful defeat may still linger for Cruz, but it takes hard work and dedication to maintain a mental advantage. Faber says, “My mental preparation is done in practice. When you put in your time, and you know you’re prepared and have done everything to prepare, it gives you a big mental advantage. I also visualize putting my offense towards my opponent and think about being a winner.”
About competing on the sport’s biggest stage against a fighter whose style has evolved since their first match, Faber says, “For me, it’s not much different; it’s just different techniques. It’s the same mentality. I’m going to give 100 percent and try to give myself every advantage to win.”