(An excerpt from Urijah Faber’s Optical Panacea poster. Click the image to see the full-size extended version.)
By Ben Goldstein
From the very beginning of his career, Urijah Faber understood that he could be so much more than just a guy throwing punches in a cage. The California Kid bought his own gym in 2006, and went on to build one of the most successful fight teams in the sport. He’s partnered up with apparel brands ranging from K-Swiss to Torque. He’s written a book. And he’s been the entrepreneurial driving force behind a number of forward-thinking enterprises, including MMADraft.com — a site he launched with Phil Davis that seeks to find better opportunities and wider attention for amateur fighters — and Optical Panacea, a new company that elevates MMA fighter posters into fine art.
With Faber awaiting his next fight-assignement from the UFC, we spent some time on the phone with him yesterday to discuss all of the projects that will keep him hustling this summer, from the first-ever MMA Combine that will take place at the next UFC Fan Expo on July 6th, to the public launch party for Optical Panacea that will be going down next Friday in Las Vegas. (Be there!) Enjoy, and be sure to follow Urijah on Twitter @UrijahFaber.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: It’s been a month since your submission win over Scott Jorgensen at the TUF 17 Finale. Has the UFC given you any word on when they want you to return, or offered you your next opponent?
URIJAH FABER: I haven’t heard anything. I’ve kind of been on vacation, but I’m looking forward to continuing training and doing big things.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: Duane Ludwig has been getting a lot of attention lately for his work as the head coach at Team Alpha Male. Is there one thing he’s specifically told you or taught you that’s helped to improve your game?
URIJAH FABER: I think one thing in particular is that we’ve been doing a lot of drilling. As wrestlers, we’ve all drilled a lot with our wrestling techniques, and now we’re bringing that into the other avenues as well. Duane’s got some awesome drills, and he has a great system down — the Duane Bang Muay Thai system — that we’re all learning. I was definitely able to incorporate a little bit of that into my standup [in my last fight], and it’s only going to get better.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: Tell me a little about the MMA Combine for amateur fighters that you and Phil Davis are hosting at the next UFC Fan Expo in July. How close will this be to something like the NFL Scouting Combine, and what are some of the testing criteria that will be specific to MMA?