By Brian Terhorst
There was a huge upset in the WEC order last November. WEC 36… 2 1/2 minutes into the first round Urijah Faber was caught off guard with a devastating right from his opponent Mike Brown. Many fans and members of the MMA community refer to it as, ‘The Shot Heard Round The World’. The seemingly unstoppable ‘California Kid’ humbly accepted his second career loss. Since then, Urijah hasn’t slowed for a minute or missed a beat. He had a re-match with Jens Pulver and stomped him soundly here in San Diego. He has traveled with his Team to multiple fights, opened a new gym & even filmed a pilot for a new Reality TV show. No rest for this kid. He’s been constantly training himself for his rematch with Mike Brown. The re-match is on June 7, in front of his hometown crowd in Sacramento. Urijah is just a cool, energetic, positive guy. He’s entertaining as hell to see in the Octagon (or on TV) He’s easy to talk to and generally a blast to be around. It’s no wonder he’s the face of the WEC and one of the most popular and exciting fighters in the sport of MMA. We luckily had the opportunity to catch up with Urijah the other day. Here’s what went down:
RIS: Watching that fight I have to say that it was definitely anyone’s fight up till the point Mike got you with that right. I’ve heard more than one person say that “Urijah knocked himself out.”What do you think about that?
UF: Yeah, I made a small mistake and he capitalized on it” he explained “I don’t think it was a lucky punch necessarily, I think it was unlucky on my part. I bounced off the cage and just missed his head with an elbow, he ducked out and landed a big right. I wasn’t unconscious by any means, but he definitely rocked me. Had that not have happened who knows how the fight would have gone. I think I would have been victorious.
RIS: What are you doing different, if anything, to train for this much anticipated rematch?
UF: I’m training the same as always, really hard. A lot of the same stuff… working on my stand up and my ground game. Getting in great shape & just getting ready for battle. I tried to put on a little weight before the fight and now I’m just shedding back down. I think in the first fight (with Brown) I made a small mistake and it was capitalized on. Up to that point I was doing a pretty good job of doing what I wanted to do. This time I’m going in a bit stronger and less wild and I’m gonna beat him.
RIS: I know that Mike Brown was seriously injured during the first fight, do you plan on attacking him the same way?
UF: Yeah, I’m not sure how he injured his ribs exactly, I know I did knee him once in the ribs, but he said he did it throwing a punch and ripped it. I don’t really know, but yeah he was in pretty bad shape after the fight. But to his credit he went hard and um…did his part.
RIS: Who’s in your corner this time around?
UF: My Jiu Jitsu instructor Fabio Prado. Master Thong my Muay Thai Instructor. I actually got a new boxing instructor I’ll probably have in there, his name is Juan Lazcano (he fought Ricky Hatton in one of his last fights). Dustin Akbari will be there too.
RIS: When you come down to San Diego where do you train?
UF: When I go down to San Diego I usually go to City Boxing
RIS: What about the guys down at The Arena?
UF: Saulo Ribeiro? I did go down there & work out with those guys. I Like Saulo, he’s a cool cat, man. He’s a World Champion.
RIS: What else keeps you busy besides your training?
UF: I’ve actually been working with a couple of guys developing a new clothing line ‘Alpha Male Clothing’. Hopefully we’ll have that up and going pretty soon. www.livealphamale.com. That’s the name of my team. These guys really know what they’re doing on the clothing side of things. I’m pretty excited about that. Then we’re workin’ on a reality show. It’s about the whole team up here & stuff like that. We already shot a pilot & I should learn more about what’s gonna happen in the following weeks. Nothing concrete yet but something to keep an eye out for. I also opened a second Ultimate Fitness Gym here in Sacramento. It’s in Rancho Cordova, that’s going pretty well. So I’ve been pretty busy besides the training.
RIS: You also did a shirt with Luke up at SilverStar?
UF: Yep, we have an unexclusive signature shirt deal with those guys. That looks like it’s gonna be a cool deal. I like that shirt quite a bit. Yeah everything’s goin’ good. I’m just plugging away.”
RIS: How are the guys on the team doing?
UF: Joseph Benavidez is fighting again soon. He just beat Jeff Curran pretty decisively. I got Justin Buchholz who is fighting in the UFC in Germany. I’m actually leaving to that fight the day after my fight to corner him. Tito Jones just fought on the Strike Force. He actually lost on decision that I thought he won. Danny Castillo who is a WEC fighter also. He’s coming off his second win in the WEC. We got a whole team of guys that are starting to make shit happen.
RIS: It’s interesting watching Joseph Benavidez fight. He reminds me of you. You have a very distinct stance & decisive style when you enter the octagon, I can see some of that in him. Is that from working with you or working with your trainers?
UF: Yeah we have the same trainers and we train together all the time. But he’s his own fighter, he’s a wild man. He’s got some crazy stuff that he does. He does all sorts of crazy kicks & stuff. A lot of his own stuff & some of mine. Using the same trainers, the styles get mixed in there. He’s a badass.
RIS: So are you. Sounds like you got yer head screwed on straight for this fight & it sounds like you’re busy as hell. I’m sure this is your #1 priority to get that belt back.
UF: Yep, that’s it man. That’s what I’m trying to do. Put it on this guy, kick his ass & take back that belt.
RIS: We’re trying to come up with a title for this article. I saw you at a Joseph Benavidez fight doing an interview and you kinda shouted, I want my belt back” What do you think?
UF: Yeah(he laughs), well that’s pretty much the general theme here. I just want to get that thing back and uh…. ya know I’m willing to fight for it.