On MMA: Is Saturday Urijah Faber's last chance to win a UFC title?

by John LaRocca

This Saturday at UFC 169, Uriajh Faber challenges for UFC Bantamweight Championship against Renan Barao.   Originally, the fight was scheduled to be UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominic Cruz versus the UFC Interim Bantamweight Champion Barao, but Cruz was injured in training and thus the UFC declared Renan Barao officially as the undisputed champion.   UFC turned to Uriajh Faber to replace Cruz in the UFC 169 main event.   Faber,  who just recently fought in December and dominated young Michael McDonald, jumped at the opportunity to once again challenge for the title
Normally, when a replacement fighter is needed, the fight loses some interest, but Uriajh Faber is a true legend of MMA and this could be the very last time he ever contends for a UFC championship again and that has made the UFC 169 main event even bigger then originally booked.   This fight will be Faber's third shot at the Bantamweight championship.   In his first challenge for the gold, Faber lost a unanimous decision to then champion, Dominic Cruz at UFC 132.  It was an exciting and close bout that Faber still insists to this day that he just did not get nod from the judges, but many feel the decision was not a controversial one.  Faber's second challenge was for the interim championship against Barao at UFC 149.  It was a one sided unanimous decision by Barao, but that even Faber has a called a boring fight.  Faber suffered a rib injury early in the bout and once again proved his toughness in lasting all five rounds.  Once again, Faber walked out of the octagon without the gold. 
This fight on Saturday could be the biggest of "The California Kid's" career.  If he wins, Faber will cement his Hall Of Fame career with UFC gold.  If he loses, Faber will fall into a position that he is very unfamiliar with, a division gate keeper.  If he loses this Saturday,  Faber's superstar charisma and name recognition will still get him main events on UFC TV events and possibly semi-main event position on a PPV, but a loss will be his last chance at UFC gold. 
Uriajh Faber's last shot at the title is why I believe UFC 169 is a must see PPV.  I predict we will see a very different fight from their last clash at UFC 149.   Faber was on Inside MMA with Kenny Rice and Bas Ruttan on AXS TV  a few weeks ago and promises to bring the fight right to Barao.  Though he did not use the rib injury as an excuse, he admitted that the last fight wasn't that exciting.  Since his last loss at UFC 149,  Faber has looked like the California Kid during his peak in the WEC, winning his last four fights, three by submission victory.  In all four of his last fights, Faber has looked aggressive and always going for the finish. 
What makes this championship fight even that much more dramatic is the fact that Uriajh Faber is going up against Renan Barao who is 31-1-1 in his MMA career and is undefeated in his UFC career at 6-0.  MMA fans  when talking about the best MMA fighters in the world, Barao's name goes under the radar.  But, true MMA experts believe that he is pound for pound one of the very best in the sport today.  Barao has a very high finish rate and a finish over a legend like Faber would bring his name out from the shadows of the other UFC champions.
The story line of the UFC 169 main event is set up perfectly.  A charismatic MMA legend challenges for the championship for possibly the very last time against an unstoppable champion.   This is a fight that true fight fans love and definitely one that you do not want to miss. 
John LaRocca

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