It's been another good year for Urijah "California Kid" Faber. Already coming into 2006 as one of the highest regarded 145lb fighters in the world, Faber has remained undefeated this year, winning his fifth fight in a row at this past weekend's Malice at the Palace 1 show in San Francisco.
"He was a tough, tough guy," said Urijah of his opponent Enoch Wilson. "I knew that going in, [by] looking at his record I knew he'd gone the distance with some tough guys and beaten a lot of other guys. He was a little bit bigger than I was, he was definitely in shape and ready to go, so it was a good fight."
Even though the fight ended early in the second round, many people attending the show were treated to a fast-paced fight full of just about everything you can have in an MMA bout.
"I've been working on my Muay Thai a lot lately so actually when we came out we were exchanging leg kicks," commented Urijah. "We ended up on the ground a couple of times and the first round ended with me landing so kicks to him on the ground. In the second round we ended up on the ground again and I started landing elbows on him. At that point I landed a big elbow to his eye and split it open. This cut was big, like you could stick your thumb in it, and they called it."
Faber continued, "I pushed the pace, we were both pretty aggressive and I felt comfortable in every position. It was actually about half on the ground, half standing, but I was the aggressor and just beat him up."
With an added emphasis on his striking, Urijah feels that just adds to an already stacked arsenal of weapons he possesses.
"I've always considered myself a pretty complete fighter but what was lacking was my legs and knees," explained Faber. "I've always hit hard and had decent boxing, but really focusing on my Muay Thai with Andy K. I feel a lot more comfortable using all four of my limbs, which is huge. I've always done well working my striking in with everything else but now I feel like being able to utilize my legs as well definitely makes me more complete."
Having defeated Enoch Wilson, one of the Northwest's top talents, Urijah hopes it can further his quest to get a dream match against one of the sport's hottest fighters.
"I really feel like I can beat anybody in the world," said Faber. "So I'd really like to fight [Norifumi] 'Kid' Yamamoto. I think that's the premier fight for me and could be the one that could really put me on top of the world, so that's the one I want."
Even if a match against Yamamoto doesn't materialize, Urijah continues to garnish the attention of major promotions, as is evidence with his recent contract signing.
"I actually signed with the WFA and will be fighting for them early next year or at the end of this year," exclaimed Faber. "I just have some fights that I have to get out of the way; I have one that's scheduled in King of the Cage for October 28th in Reno [Nevada] and one that's a tentative date down the road."
While many feel it's been long overdue for Urijah to take another step forward, Faber says the timing of his new contract is reflective of the sport's sometimes unbalanced pay scale for lighter fighters.
"I've gotten offers from a lot of big shows, but I'm making good money for a lightweight fighter fighting in the shows like I did this weekend," admitted Urijah. "They offered me really good money compared to what the UFC does. I know it's really important to get the big exposure but I feel like I'm making a pretty good name for myself. I'm ready to step in there; I just want to be compensated for it."
When jokingly asked now that he's going to be part of the WFA if he'd like to show fellow contract superstar Quinton "Rampage" Jackson a thing or two about wrestling, Faber responded, "Yeah [laughs], Quinton is actually buddy of mine and I've wrestled around with him a little bit and his head is like twice the size of mine so I have trouble getting my arms around his neck [laughs]."
Even with the WFA right around the corner Urijah is focused on his next fight and he urges fans to see it any way they can.
"Check out the KOTC show in Reno, I think it's going to be on PPV, I'm fighting Cub Swanson, so it should be a good show," exclaimed Faber. "I'm not sure who else is on the show but I'm always going to put on an exciting fight. So if you're in the area come down to the Reno Events Center near the Silver Legacy [Casino] or check it out on PPV."
Urijah concluded, "Keep watching me. I'm on a winning streak and I'm only getting better. Check out my website, UrijahFaber.com, go to the sponsors page and check them out...Fairtex, NoGi, Skin Industries and IkarosAlive.com. We're also starting a new Gym [with James Irvin, Scott Smith and others.] So if you're in the Sacramento or greater Sacramento areas come check us out, [info can be found at] UltimateFitness.pro."