Former featherweight world champ Urijah Faber is secure enough to admit that there is a lot that can’t be known about how a fight will go until it actually goes down.
Faber takes on former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar in a special featherweight contest this Saturday in Manila. The matchup is a super fight long in the making, where Faber will move back up to 145 pounds from the bantamweight division he’s been competing at in recent years to face arguably the No. 1 contender in the featherweight division. The two former champions are as dynamic, gutsy, skilled and plain old fast as anyone the UFC has ever seen, so the main event promises to be as exciting as it is significant to the rankings.
Of course, both men will walk into the cage with a great deal of confidence. However, Faber takes confidence in a trait of his that is often overlooked when discussing fighter attributes.
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"I think the thing that will make a difference for me against Frankie is my creativity," Faber tells FOX Sports.
"There’s so much you can’t really know until the fight itself. For example, I think I’ll be faster but I won’t know until we fight. I think I have a power advantage with strikes but I can’t actually know for sure until we get in there. One advantage I do feel certain I’ll have is my creativity. Frankie is a great fighter, he’s fast, he’s got good wrestling and he’s got good boxing and good Jiu Jitsu. But everything he does is straightforward. I mix things up, a lot, and make the most of scrambles."
Faber is also looking forward to making the most out what he expects to be an increased level of energy during his fight. Faber has cut down to 135 pounds for fights of late, but won’t have to deplete himself as much this time around since he’s returning to 145 pounds.
"There really wasn’t much of a discussion about having the fight at bantamweight. I was game for the fight, period. They offered it and I accepted it," he says.
"It has felt really good to eat during training camp, for sure. I’m going to feel great for this fight."
Should he feel and perform well enough to beat Edgar, Faber will find himself in an interesting position in the featherweight division. "The California Kid" took the fight simply because it’s a big one, but a win over "The Answer" could conceivably make Faber the 145-pound division’s No. 1 contender.
After all, Edgar has won three straight and seems the logical man to face the winner of UFC 189’s Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor championship fight in July. For his part, Faber has won seven out of his last eight fights.
Once more, Faber is confident but humble. He knows a win over Edgar would make him a sudden title contender in a second UFC division, but he admits that his last fight against Jose Aldo poses some challenges to his viability as a challenger should "Scarface" leave UFC 189 with his belt.
"I’m not much for campaigning anywhere," he says.
"At this point in my career, I’m just about taking the biggest and best fights I can get and if I win them, I see what opportunities are there for me afterwards. A win over Frankie would definitely create some interesting options for me. We’ll just have to see how things play out.
"It could depend a lot on how Aldo vs. McGregor goes. In my fight against Aldo I got my leg eaten up pretty badly (by leg kicks). Sure, that was a long time ago and we’re both different fighters. But (teammate) Chad (Mendes) had an incredible, close fight with him and has shown he can hang with Aldo. So, I think a McGregor win puts me in a better position to challenge for the belt again."