With WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown on the mend with injured ribs and Leonard Garcia on the rise, Urijah Faber will have to wait a little bit for the opportunity to reclaim his 145-pound title.
In the meantime, several published reports indicate that "The California Kid" (21-2) will once again challenge former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver at WEC 38 in San Diego, Calif., on January 25. Faber and Pulver first met in an action-packed five round scrap at WEC 34 back in June.
Faber came away with a clear unanimous decision in what is to date the most successful event ever for the promotion. Perhaps the WEC is hoping that lightning will strike twice the second time around even though "Lil Evil" has fallen on tough times of late.
In fact, the long-time Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS)-trained fighter -- who recently switched camps -- has dropped four of his last five fights. The soon-to-be 34-year-old veteran was most recently stopped early by Garcia in their showdown at WEC 36: "Faber vs. Brown" earlier this month.
It's safe to say that this is a huge opportunity for Pulver to turn things around ... fast. The only problem, however, is that he has to do it against a fighter who is widely regarded as among the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.
Faber held the WEC 145-pound title for two and a half years before getting caught by a well-placed, fight-ending right hand courtesy of the powerful Mike Brown in the first round of the WEC 36 main event three weeks ago.
The loss was only the second of his career and the first since getting stopped in the third round by Tyson Griffin at Gladiator Challenge 42: "Summer Slam" in September of 2005.
Before the upset, Faber was widely considered to be the number one featherweight mixed martial artist in the world. He was on a 13-fight win streak that included victories over Pulver, Jeff Curran, Chance Farrar, Dominic Cruz, Krazy Horse Bennett, Ivan Menjivar, Charlie Valencia and others.
He'll likely be out for redemption just like Pulver, making this rematch an exciting fight to kick off 2009 for the WEC.
Lightweight champ Jamie Varner is scheduled to headline the show, defending his 155-pound title against number one contender Donald Cerrone. WEC 38 will air on the Versus network, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on fight night.