The title bout will be the third time that the two men will meet in mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. The first meeting saw Faber emerge victorious via a first round guillotine submission. The second occurred when Cruz successfully defended his title against Faber at UFC 132 on July 2, 2011, in "Sin City" via unanimous decision after a five-round battle.
It's no secret that the pair have never liked each other ... that much has always been clear. However, since the dust settled on their last match, the verbal jabs have been constantly flying back and forth.
Tonight (Feb. 27, 2012), "The California Kid" appeared on HDNet's "Inside MMA" to address recent comments that "The Dominator" made about Faber and his level for understanding for the way Cruz fights:
"I mean, come on. Let's be serious here. I don't understand the way he's fighting, so I'm frustrated and I'm saying bad stuff about it? The guy's a good fighter. He's good at what he does which is: scoring some points. He's not dangerous. He's not scary. I knocked him down three different times in three different rounds. He had 11 takedown attempts and basically got one and a half and that's about it. So, if the guy thinks I don't know how to beat him...I already did beat him!"
Faber, visibly upset by comments that Cruz made during a recent interview, took things a step further. According to him, Cruz is lucky to still be alive:
"He's alive right now because there's rules in MMA and I had to release his neck and let him breathe! You're welcome, Dominick Cruz, for giving you life and letting you live! Next time, I'm gonna do the same thing. I'm gonna let you live, but it's gonna be painful."
When asked more about Cruz's style, Faber was critical about the way he fights, comparing the way he fights to competitors in a karate tournament:
"That's what fighting's about, right? And that's how I approach the fight. Let's finish this fight! And he's doing 'point fighting.' This isn't a karate tournament. I mean, do you wanna take hits to the head away next?"
At the end of the day, Urijah believes he's only getting better and not going anywhere, any time soon. He sees the key for him being his improved striking. It's that upper hand that he believes will earn him the belt, which he doesn't plans on keeping for a very long time:
"Yeah, I think for me, the striking game is something I've been working on for eight years, and I've really been working with a great coach for about four years now. It takes a lot of time for you to get comfortable and for things to become instinctual and to find your groove, and it's really starting to happen for me now, so I'm excited about it. I've got a lot of years left. I feel young. I feel energetic, and I know I'm getting better. So, I can't wait to get this belt and hold it."
So, is it sour grapes, or does Faber have some legitimate points? Do you agree with his commentary? Who are you picking in the trilogy between Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.