On December 16th in his hometown of Sacramento, California, Urijah Faber will make his last walk to the cage. After thirteen years, 40+ fights, and world titles, the “California Kid” has decided to call it a day. For many, Faber is one of a kind. With legions of fans behind him, Faber popularised the lighter weight classes, with his fights being contested below lightweight. Hardcore fans know Faber as a real pioneer of the sport, and is a giant reason fighters like Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Demetrious Johnson, and Joseph Benevidez had a platform to start their careers and were put in the spotlight of the UFC. With Faber’s career coming to a close, here are his greatest performances.
Faber Vs. Cruz (WEC 26)
Much has been made of Faber and Cruz’s careers and how important each were to the other. Their first meeting way back in 2007 was one of Faber’s best fights and continued to propel him as the WEC’s biggest star. Dominick Cruz was coming into this fight undefeated and full of confidence. Lots of trash talk ensued in the lead up to this fight, with neither man holding back on their words. As soon as the fight started it was clear that Faber was looking to finish, throwing big power shots in the form of overhand rights. Cruz times one of these shots and ducks under for a takedown. Through impeccable timing, Faber snatches up a guillotine and hands Cruz the first and only loss of his career early in the first round.
Faber Vs. Pulver I-II (WEC 34, 38)
Another pioneer of the sport, Jens Pulver was a former UFC Champion and was dropping down in weight. Pulver came to the WEC and asserted himself by submitting Cub Swanson in under a minute; The fight was on for the featherweight title. Faber was coming off a run of five title defences all by stoppage, but this fight wouldn’t come as easy. A five round back and forth battle, Faber battered Pulver for most of the fight, dropping him hard in the third round, but Pulver wasn’t an easy out. Faber won by unanimous decision and showed fight fans that he could endure over 25 minutes of action.
Fast forward seven months and these two would meet again for a rematch, and Faber put a stamp on it, submitting Pulver in an impressive 1:34 with his elite guillotine choke.
Faber Vs. McDonald (UFC on Fox 9)
Coming into this fight, Michael McDonald was an impressive 16-2 and was looking to get back into contention with a big win over perennial contender Faber. Many pegged this fight as one that would catch up to Faber as he was fighting a young explosive prospect, but the “California Kid” would turn back the clock and put on one of his best UFC performances to date. Faber’s striking looked great in the contest, landing big right hands repeatedly on a circling McDonald. Midway through the second round Faber would connect hard with a right hand and then would rush the hurt McDonald. Faber would once again snatch up a guillotine on a sprawling McDonald. Impressive indeed.
On December 17th in his hometown, Faber will look to put a exclamation point on his career against another long time veteran Brad Pickett.