Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently dropped the bombshell that Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber will go head-to-head as opposing coaches on season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
As bizarre a pairing as that may seem, the confusion of the news was further compounded by the fact that "Notorious" and "The California Kid" won't be fighting one another at the end of the show.
And it wouldn't make much sense, either, as Conor is now the interim featherweight champion and Faber lost his previous bout to Frankie Edgar.
So why are the two facing off on TUF?
Faber did his best to explain the situation during his recent appearance on The MMA Hour:
"We had been in talks for a long time. I think there was one point where had Conor lost to Aldo, I was going to coach against him. Had he won against Aldo, then Chad was going to coach against him. That was weeks and weeks and weeks ago. Then, when the whole change of opponents happened, I didn't know anything until two days ago. They had been mentioning it and I had to have a discussion with Lorenzo and hash things out about how this all looks, because it can put me out for a while as far as competing. That was kind of a bad experience for me last time. I only fought one time when I did the coaching thing. I just had to make sure it was going to work out for me. You don't really turn down these opportunities. Conor is a character, blowing up, and I think most guys would get swallowed alive coaching against him. So I was thinking who else they have that can be good at banter back and forth with him. There was chance we were going to fight. He won the fight, so that's not going to happen right now. He's got to fight Jose Aldo next. I'm still at 145, 135 pounds. So, it's a fight that can happen in the future, so it makes sense. It will be fun and I want to give these guys I'm coaching my all and it will be awesome."
As far as who Faber will take on next, that is completely up in the air, as Urijah says he has no idea who it could be. Compound that with his upcoming TUF duties as well as other obligations outside of the cage, and it could be awhile before we see Faber back in action.
As far as the mini-confrontation between Conor and Faber prior to the UFC 189 weigh-ins?
"How freaking random, huh? It does look like it was rigged. I was thinking the same freaking thing. I mean, it was super weird in general. I was backstage and there are common hallways and there is one men's bathroom with one toilet in there and then there is a female one. So, I'm waiting in line, and then someone behind me tells me to check the girls, since there are a lot more men backstage than women. So I told him no, that I'd wait. So, I go in the bathroom. And I told the guy to watch the door, and let them know that I was in there.Anyways, I'm washing my hands and someone is shaking the knob to the door of the bathroom. So I open the door and it was someone trying to open the door for Conor. As I'm walking out, he's walking in we're nose-to-nose. Super random, it wasn't in anyone's locker room or anything like that. It was a hallway and it so happened that we get face-to-face. The guy looked like he was going to die, it was crazy. So he goes, 'What is up, little man?' And then he rubbed my head, so I grabbed his stomach, his scrawny little ribs and I asked him, 'Man, are you going to survive?' And I didn't know what he was doing, he was trying to do a move, so instincts kicked in and I did a re-drag, got both his hands and held him up against the wall. And he's like, 'get your fucking hands off me.' And I'm like, 'I don't have my hands on you motherfucker.' It was completely off guard for me. Then he just walked away and I did too. It was awkward, but it wasn't a confrontation. I think he was really trying to go for a takedown on the concrete. I don't know where it got heated from there. I don't know where his head was at."
Good thing the cameras were there!
Nevertheless, Faber admitted that Conor is a "tough dude" after surviving Chad's initial onslaught of takedowns and elbows to the dome to capture the interim title.
But will the fiery Irishman have the same luck against Faber should they ever be locked inside the Octagon?