For the second time in a 49-day span, top Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight contender Urijah Faber picked up a dominant submission win inside the Octagon with a fourth-round rear-naked choke of Scott Jorgensen in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale Saturday night (April 13, 2013) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Faber is at a point in his career where he has fought so many of the best guys at 135 and 145-pounds in the UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), that if you're looking to put him in the cage with top-flight opposition, there are slim pickings unless you want to book a rematch with someone the 33-year-old has already fought.
Few people want to see Faber anywhere near a title shot at this point, and with interim 135-pound champion Renan Barao scheduled to fight Eddie Wineland at UFC 161 in June and Dominick Cruz's return date still not set, Faber will need at least one more win to get a sniff of a title fight.
According to the current official UFC bantamweight rankings, the Team Alpha-Male product sits in the No. 2 spot and has already defeated five of the eight men ranked below him in the top-10. Two of the remaining three Faber has not fought are fresh off significant defeats, so, by the process of elimination and logic, that only leaves one man for "The California Kid" to fight next:
"One Punch" is just over one week removed from a brilliant winning effort against Mike Easton in the "Fight of the Night" at UFC on FUEL TV 9 in Sweden, which means the timing for a fight with Faber would line up perfectly.
Following his win over Easton, Pickett pleaded for the UFC to match him up with someone who sits above him in the rankings (Pickett is currently No.5 at bantamweight). Faber is exactly that type of opponent and a match up between the two would likely be an absolute barnburner as they are two of the most exciting fighters in the weight class and fan favorites.
The fight is really a win-win from the UFC's perspective.
At this stage, anyone who defeats Faber is immediately a contender for the belt and if Pickett can take out the Team Alpha-Male product, he may finally get the world title shot that has eluded him thus far in his UFC and WEC stints.
For Faber, a win over Pickett would be his third in a row against a top-10 opponent and it would be hard for anyone to complain if he received a shot at the title.
A lot of fans and media members complain that Faber has been gifted one too many title shots over the course of his career; however, no one else in the division is racking up the kind quality wins that Faber is putting under his belt, so the detractors would really have no argument.
Looking a little ways down the road, hopefully Cruz is ready to unify the bantamweight titles with the winner of Barao vs. Wineland before the end of the year so the UFC could book Faber vs. Pickett around the same time and have the winners face off.
With that said, if Faber and Pickett are indeed matched up, they absolutely need to headline an event as anything other than five scheduled rounds between the two would be criminal.
Beyond a match up with Pickett, it would be wise of Faber to stay in fight shape because the injury bug can always bite unexpectedly and an opportunity could potentially pop up out of the blue.
Who would you like to see Faber face next? Let us know in the comments section below.