Long time coming…
Hall of famer and decorated UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber announces that he will retire after his UFC on Fox 22 bout against fellow veteran Brad Pickett. The card will take place at newly built Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California and the California kid couldn’t think of a more fitting place.
“I’ve been kind of waiting for this, and this is actually going to be my last fight,” Faber revealed. “And it just feels right to do it in [Sacramento] in this new area. It just feels like the right time and the right place. I’ve been waiting for this new arena to be built, I was waiting for that Dominick Cruz opportunity, and I feel like this is going to be an epic event and I can’t wait to do it in front of the people I love.”
The Dominick Cruz opportunity he’s referring to is the third installment of the feud that started between him and now bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz back in the WEC days. In the first fight Faber was dominant, scoring a rd. 1 guillotine choke submission, in the second installment Cruz edged out a controversial victory in a 5 round war, and in the latest installment Cruz ran away with the series scoring a dominant 5 round win. Though Faber fought valiantly, it was clear the writing was on the wall for Faber as a real competitor in the bantamweight division.
“I’ve been teetering with it for a long time,” Faber said. “The thing is that I’m lucky. Like I said, I have my health and I really love what I’m doing. But just as far as the passion goes, I have a passion for what I’m doing still, but it doesn’t get the same emotion (out of me) that it has in the past. I remember my favorite fighter of all-time is Roy Jones Jr., and I remember him talking about him kind of feeling that, where he was playing little basketball games the same day as a boxing match.”
Despite the Cruz feud, Faber has had a 14 year highlight reel career dominating in WEC with 5 title defenses at featherweight and even headlining WEC’s only pay per view event (WEC 48) against Jose Aldo. In the UFC he’s stayed on top of the featherweight and bantamweight divisions where most of his losses came from title shots. Outside the Octagon the 37 year old is quite the entrepreneur, starting multiple businesses including the lucrative Alpha Male gym which has bred starts like Paige VanZant, D.J. Dillashaw, Cody Garbrandt and Chad Mendes.
“I’ve loved just being a part of other people’s success,” Faber said. “Even guys like T.J. (Dillashaw) — I enjoy the fact that T.J. and Chad and guys like (Mark) Munoz and Scotty Jorgensen, all these guys that I helped get into the sport. And I’ve seen some of them go. I don’t know, I feel like it’s kind of like a perfect time for me to make an exit and work on building this team. I have some entertainment stuff I’ve been working on, shows and some movie stuff. I’ve got business stuff that I’ve been working on, but I’m most excited about growing the next generation of fighters, bringing multiple belts back to the Sacramento area. And I want to go out with a massive win against a great opponent in my hometown.”
While it’s clear Faber is no longer the competitive force at bantamweight he use be, does that mean his days of competing should be done? Well for one there’s always Bellator, depending on his contract obligations. But do we even need to go that far? Doesn’t he still have a few fights left in the UFC? A catch weight bout against Mighty Mouse Johnson or even a grudge match between Faber and former student T.J. Dillashaw are all matches that I would be up for. His chin is still in tact, and the 37 year old always shows up in great shape. All I’m saying is if he changes his mind, he still has options.
What do you guys think of the retirement of this future hall of famer? Too soon, or a long time coming?