Urijah Faber’s been busy since he landing in Las Vegas where he’s coaching a new class of fighters contending to become the next Ultimate Fighter. Coaching against arch nemesis, Dominick Cruz, and getting started with training for UFC 148’s July 7th rubber match against him (that Faber said is almost finalized) has kept him busy. With the live debut of the Ultimate Fighter Live 1 on FX less than a week away, Urijah told the MMA Fight Corner on Saturday that sparks are already flying between him and UFC Bantamweight Champ Dominick Cruz.
The Cruz-Faber saga continues with TUF Live 1 debut on FX, March 9th at 9pm Eastern & Pacific Time (tape delay for PST). The highly anticipated season premiere will feature 16 live fights in a two and half hour episode. There will be live fights every Friday night and the show’s editing throughout the season will be turned around quickly. Faber expressed that he’s psyched to be coaching, especially with the new format for the show, “That’s what I’m most excited about man. I mean, I’m a huge fight fan. I mean, dream come true to watch two guys that are like, who have everything at stake, fight live each Friday. It’s going to be something great for me, that’s for sure.”
With his new coaching experience about to get underway, Faber described his excitement for the opportunity, “First and foremost, they always chose great guys. I mean you see some of the top names in the sport have come off the seasons of the Ultimate Fighter. This is the most competitive time in the sport in general. These guys have gotta be tough.”
The third installment of the Cruz-Faber saga is expected to occur July 7th in Las Vegas at UFC 148 at the MGM Grand once the 13 week season of TUF Live concludes. Though the fight is not formally inked yet, the rivals have definitely already started getting under each other’s skin. “It’s a long history between us. And it’s basically, and I’ve always said, I feel like he chose me as an enemy. I don’t even know the guy and he already started you know, being kind of a jerk off. So, I accepted it and I’ll run with it. I don’t have any enemies, but I’m not scared of the confrontation, that’s for sure.”
When Faber first met Cruz in the WEC in 2007, Urijah finished him in the 1st round with a guillotine choke and held onto the WEC Featherweight title. In the second battle at UFC 132, Cruz defeated Faber via unanimous decision and retained the UFC Bantamweight title. Though their history says it all, Faber admits he can’t account for what drives Cruz’s animosity towards him, but says, “He’s a little bit jealous. He’s got the belt, but I still think he’s got a little jealously going on there…a lil chip on his shoulder. He’s not a happy dude.”
During the season, the two will be around each other pretty much non-stop. With their genuine dislike for each other festering, Faber admitted, “I’ve never been in a situation where I’m training to basically fight and do harm to someone, and then also have to live in the same area as him and see him every day. So, it’s gonna be interesting man. I don’t know exactly how it’s gonna go, but it’s going to be interesting.”