Cebuano fans meet MMA star

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


URIJAH Faber epitomizes a true warrior’s never-say-die attitude.

Despite losing all three attempts at becoming a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) champion, the MMA fighter known as “The California Kid” continued and pursued his goal of becoming the best bantamweight in the world.

“I’m just waiting for my next opponent. I would like to fight Dominic Cruz or Renan Barao,” the 34-year-old Faber said last Thursday in his visit to Cebu City.

Faber had a meet-and-greet with his Cebuano fans last Thursday night at the Event Centre of SM City Cebu. The Cebuano MMA fans had pictures taken with Faber and also had him sign autographs.

Faber was overwhelmed by the huge support of the Filipino fans for him, the UFC and MMA.

“Thanks for the support. I’m honored. I met a lot of folks here that named their babies Urijah and some named Faber. The UFC has a huge influence here,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. Everybody here speaks fluent English.”

With the warm welcome by the Filipinos and also the warm tropical weather, Faber feels at home in the Philippines.

“It’s been fun so far. The food here is awesome and I’ve been treated nicely. I like it here because it is hot. I can’t stand the cold. Too bad I didn’t have enough time to visit the beaches here,” said Faber, who is a close friend of Filipino-American UFC fighter Mark Muñoz.

Faber was given another title shot last month after he stepped in as a replacement for Dominic Cruz against Renan Barao. Cruz, who suffered an injury, was stripped of the UFC bantamweight crown, which was placed at stake in the Barao vs. Faber rematch.

Faber, however, bowed to Barao in a controversial first round stoppage by referee Herb Dean, in what some deem as a premature stoppage.

“I have to say yes (it was premature). I was prepared to fight. It sucks that it was stopped. But I’ll be back soon and hopefully get a new title shot,” said an optimistic Faber.

Faber, the former WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) featherweight titleholder, first fought for UFC title back in 2010 and lost to Cruz by unanimous decision.

He then fought for the interim UFC bantamweight crown against Barao in 2012 and lost by unanimous decision.

But despite those failed attempts, there is no stopping the “The California Kid” in his pursuit for greatness.

“I’m always training. I stay ready all year round,” said Faber, who might be back in the octagon in July.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2014.

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