Esther Lin for MMA Fighting
Despite their bitter rivalry and past history, Urijah Faber feels bad for UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, who will be out of action longer than expected due to injury, and wishes "The Dominator" a "speedy recovery" so he can eventually get his trilogy fight.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber have one of the most bitter rivalries in MMA, dating back to their time spent competing under the now defunct World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) organization, carrying on to the Octagon.
The two have split victories, with "The California Kid" choking out Cruz in 2007 at WEC 28 and "The Dominator" earning a unanimous decision over Faber at UFC 132 last year.
The scrappy fighters were scheduled to meet for a third time at UFC 148 this past July, however, an injury to Dominick put the bout on ice. Urijah went on to lose to Renan Barao for the UFC's interim 135-pound title at UFC 149, instead. Along with the belt, Renan earned a shot at unifying the title against Cruz.
That fight, however, will be postponed due to the fact Dominick suffered yet another setback during ACL surgery and will be required to sit out for an extended period of time.
So how did Faber react at the news that the man he so desperately wants the chance to punch again, and has spent countless hours badmouthing has suffered another setback?
On "UFC Tonight," Faber had some words of support for his long-time rival:
"Yeah, I definitely do (feel bad for Cruz). When it all comes down to basic facts, the guy loves the sport and he works hard. There's a lot of admirable things about him. Having another setback like this is unfortunate. I want him to heal up so I can beat him up eventually. I'm going to get it (trilogy fight). I just have to win a couple of fights here against top dudes, like Ivan Menjivar and whoever else, and I'll be back in there. I wish him a speedy recovery. I hate to hear it, man. really."
Though one didn't expect Faber to gloat at the expense of Cruz' woes, it's refreshing, though not surprising, to see him show some support for the injured Cruz.
With no exact date set for "The Dominator's" return, Barao will defend his interim title against power-punching Michael McDonald sometime in the coming year, while Faber will take the first step in his quest to facing Cruz one more time as he takes on Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157 on Feb. 23, 2013.