Urijah Faber recently stated that he'd like to fight Miguel Torres, BJ Penn, Mike Brown (again) and looks forward to dismantling Jose Aldo. And the fans' response on this site?
Shock at his audacity. Schoolyard jibes. Laughter.
Urijah deserves more. Look at his only recent losses, both to Mike Brown. The first ended when he exhibited lack of judgment and found himself eating a fist sandwich, with a lot of extra spicy Brown mustard. But Urijah's style is characterized by calculated risk, unconventional attacks and blinding speed. That time, it didn't pay off. That time, he didn't calculate his movements. One momentary lapse cost him the fight.
The second melee with big Mike? He severely injured both of his hands during the fight, which prevented him from throwing punches. An MMA fighter unable to throw punches is like a running back who can only run left: predictable. And predictable fighters tend to find themselves enjoying a nap. And yet, not only did he last a full five rounds, but he almost won in the fifth with a wicked guillotine. Only his hand injuries and resulting inability to squeeze tightly kept Brown from tapping out. He was otherwise beat, and he knows it. If not for those injuries, Urijah would have won. And if/when they fight again, Urijah will win.Miguel Torres? He was recently beat to the punch by someone smaller, weaker and likely slower than Urijah. Torres is world-class. He might be one of the best ever. But if Urijah landed a punch on his chin, he would likely go down. He is substantially stronger than Angel, and fast enough to make it count. If Faber and Torres fought ten times, then perhaps Miguel would win three of the bouts.
Aldo? That is a tougher call to make. Jose matched up quite well against the slower Brown. But Urijah is far faster, perhaps fast enough to mitigate the risk posed by Aldo's speed. And his endurance cannot be questioned, while Jose's remains unknown. Faber's speed could get him into the late rounds where his best-in-class conditioning might give him a distinct advantage against Aldo. On the other hand, Aldo exhibited great takedown defense against Brown. This could cause Faber some problems if Jose's speed proves to be too much for him to handle while standing up. It will be an interesting fight.
BJ? He's likely too big for Faber to handle. Pound-for-pound (and now get ready for some sacrilege), I think Faber could best him. His wrestling is stellar, and while BJ's takedown defense is perhaps second to none, he has shown some weakness from his back and Faber's takedowns might just be unconventional enough to land him there. Penn has losses against Pulver, Hughes and GSP, all very good wrestlers. Further, Faber's strikes are quick, and again, his endurance is unquestionable. If they get to later rounds, where Faber is as fast as he is in the first, BJ might have more on his plate than he anticipated. Further, Faber just choked out Raphael Assuncao. While Assuncao is not "The Prodigy", he is a BJJ Black Belt, and a very good one. Faber knows how to handle himself against expert BJJ. However, I will finish as I started: Penn is likely too big for Faber to handle - remember he weighed in at close to 200 lbs. when he squared off against Machida. Faber would need Mike Brown on his back to fight at 200. If they fought ten times, Faber would perhaps win three.
So, I implore the community to reconsider and recognize what Faber has demonstrated he is capable of doing against world class talent. He is an exciting fighter whose confidence is one of the best things the game has going for it. Let's respond with encouragement, and hope we get to see the battles Faber wants.