Some fighters will always be linked to each other forever.
Such is the case with Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz. It's no secret that they don't like each other and likely never will. On July 2, it was Cruz who came away with the upper hand when the two took part in one of the most memorable fights of 2011 at UFC 132 in "Sin City," evening the score (1-1) with the "California Kid."
Earlier this week, Faber appeared on Pro MMA Radio with Larry Pepe to discuss his loss to Cruz and his plans on moving forward, which immediately include taking on the heavy-handed Brian Bowles at UFC 139 in San Jose, Calif., this weekend.
It's an opportunity that, according to Faber, will get him one step closer to finalizing his feud with the "Dominator" once and for all with his fists:
"Dominick's not my favorite person. It's not like we're best friends. It is what it is. I gotta go in there and finish what we started. We're one-and-one now. That last fight, I really feel like I won. I don't feel like I was beat up, and I feel like I landed some real damaging blows. It's just unfinished business with us. I gotta make a statement when I go up against Bowles, but the Cruz fight is something that's gonna happen."
A large portion of the conversation was spent discussing Cruz and Faber's aspirations of getting back into the cage with him. But, as mentioned earlier, Faber has a little work to do to achieve his goal. And it's not going to be easy.
On Sat., Nov. 19, Faber will fight Bowles, himself a former bantamweight champion, in a 135-pound bout that will determine the division's next number one contender.
Faber discussed how he's preparing for his upcoming fight against a man he once trained with and has called a friend:
"I'd like to think there is no difference but there probably is. To be honest, Bowles is a hard guy to get up for. He's so monotone and he's a nice guy. I do have a history of knowing him on a personal level. So, it is a little more difficult to really get pumped up for a fight. It won't be difficult when I'm in the cage. When I'm in the cage, I know what his intentions are. I'm gonna have a crowd out there. I've been there too many times. When it's all said and done, it should be the same result. I'm gonna go in there with fire and try and impose my will and finish the guy. I approach every fight is as if I was fighting on the street, or in the park or on the playground. I've got someone across from me that's gonna beat me up and that's just not in my nature to let that happen. I'm competing here. I've got a guy who's coming in and thinking he's gonna beat me up and take things that I want and impose his will on me. That's what motivates me the most."
Aside from the opportunity to get another crack at Cruz and his belt, Faber may be motivated by Bowles questioning his motivation.
Isn't it ironic?
"I don't think he's the guy who should be judging how people feel. He seems kinda introverted and not much of a people person, so he may have got that mixed up a little bit. I'm as motivated as I've ever been and I'm the better fighter -- and I am gonna beat him up."
Bowles is a well-rounded fighter. Of his 10 wins, six have come via submission. However, fans often overlook that because of his phenomenal striking power.
Faber spoke to the rumblings that this upcoming fight could possibly end with Bowles recording a knockout.
"That's never happened yet. Even in the fights I've lost by TKO, I was not unconscious. I've been hit with some heavy punches by big guys. Guys that were 10 to 15 pounds bigger than me. Bowles does hit hard. There's no doubt about that. I'll be aware. I'll be ready. I'm not worried about getting knocked out cold. It hasn't happened yet."
Ultimately, Faber believes he will win this fight, no matter what it takes. Though he isn't taking Bowles lightly, his opinion is that he is better at every aspect of the game.
Faber plans to use his advantages to score himself an early finish and another chance to challenge his nemesis, Cruz, for the championship gold.
"I think my advantages are pretty big everywhere. Aside from honoring what he has, which is a great will to fight and some heart and heavy hands and a choke, I think I've got all that and much more.... I think it's gonna be a little bit of everything. I think there's gonna be some grappling involved, definitely some heavy punches and I'm hoping for a finish. I don't think that Brian or myself are the kind of guys that try and eek out decisions. I'm expecting fireworks and I hope to finish him in the first or second round."