Urijah Faber was in Manila for his second promotional tour in the country. As part of our interview with the former champion, ‘The California Kid’ tackled how much press and marketing some fighters get in the UFC.
Being the face of the WEC and the lighter weights for the longest time, along with having Paige VanZant on his team, Urijah decided to fire back at some of naysayers who have complained about ‘unfair’ or ‘special’ treatment.
“The truth is this, when some people talk about the ‘it’ factor, some people have it, some people don’t. But the bottom line is, you have to win fights in this sport,” Faber told BloodyElbow.com. “People can complain and have chips on their shoulder all they want about whether they’re getting the publicity or not.”
Speed Kills: Faber breaks down match up vs Edgar
In part one of BloodyElbow.com’s interview with ‘The California Kid’, Urijah Faber breaks down the match up against Frankie Edgar and the difference between fighting at 135 and 145 lbs.
“We’ve got a girl named Paige VanZant who is getting a lot of notoriety because she’s a beautiful girl and she’s savvy when it comes to interviews,” he continued. “But she went out there, kicked butt, and scored the first knockout for that weight class.”
Reebok has seen VanZant’s potential and marketability, signing her to an individual sponsorship deal. The decision has brought about some critics, and even the UFC starwweight champ Carla Esparza had joked about the apparel company favoring blondes.
“If you look at the organization that has a beautiful girl that just knocked some girl out, and she’s only 20 years old. So she has 10-20 years to go depending on how long she wants to spend in the sport,” Faber said. “Quit complaining!”
“I’ve been in the same situation where people are saying that they’re giving me some sort of ‘special treatment’ because I’m more marketable or whatever, and I’m like ‘this is my 40th fight’,” he exclaimed. “I’ve set some records, and I’ve tied some records with guys like Anderson Silva. I’ve won championships and I’ve lost championships.”
“If anybody has any complaints about anything, just win all your fights and it will take care of everything else.”
Related: Speed Kills: Urijah Faber breaks down UFC: Manila match up against Frankie Edgar
Faber will be taking on Frankie Edgar in the Philippines, a country he toured extensively in 2014.
“When I came here last year, I saw how much support the people had for the sport, and the coverage they had on live television,” Faber said. “I’m really excited to go back here and put on a show for the first monumental event in the Philippines for the UFC.”
“I’d like to think that I’d have (the home crowd on my side), especially that I’m buddies with Mark Munoz and rooting for Pacquiao,” Faber said with a laugh. “Although I think a lot of people root for Pacquiao because of how he carries himself versus that other guy.”
“But the truth is, I don’t see anybody rooting against Frankie either. He’s a stand up individual and a legendary fighter,” he continued. “I feel like this is going to be one of those fights that going to have just cheers on both sides, but I’m going to feel the love I believe.”
For this UFC: Manila training camp, Faber will be reuniting with Mark Munoz, who will be returning to Team Alpha Male to prepare for his retirement bout against Luke Barnatt.
“Mark started his career with us until his family moved to Southern California. He was part of Team Alpha Male, and I helped him with whatever he needed when he started getting his gym going as well,” Faber said about the Filipino-American. “We’ve always had a great connection.”
“Mark has talked about doing his final camp in Team Alpha Male which I’d love to have,” he said. “He’s a guy that has a lot on his plate, and we’ve got a great recipe of success in our team. This is a big fight for him. He started his career there and he was in my corner for my very first fight, which is really neat. That was in 2003, so it’s been 12 years ago.”
“I’d like to be there (for him), and it’s pretty cool that we get to do this together so I’d love to have him down.”
Munoz announces retirement bout.
With both Munoz and Faber building a bigger audience in the country, the popular former WEC champ says that he would definitely want to be a part of a possible TUF season in the Philippines.
“I’d love to be a coach on an iteration of TUF: Philippines. I have a fanbase and for whatever reason, I relate to the Filipino fans naturally,” he states. “I think it’s because we’re all generally happy folks but I would love to come out here and push that thing through.”
“I’m sure they would love to have Munoz and other Filipino fighters too, and I think it will happen if it’s something that everybody wants.”
If not for an international edition of TUF, Faber would also be open for the new team vs. team format of the long running show with Team Alpha Male. It can showcase some of their up and comers, and would be a good way to play up rivalries against other teams.
“Obviously Nova Uniao in Brazil is a huge rivalry, and we’ve got some of the top fighters in the world, so that would be awesome,” Urijah said. “There’s also Northern vs Southern California with Alliance MMA. That could be interesting as well, so let’s see how it goes.”
“I heard the next one is going to be funny… I mean interesting.” Faber said with a laugh.
Follow me on twitter — @antontabuena
About the author