CLEVELAND -- UFC bantamweight contender Urijah Faber has fought and defeated some of the best light-weight fighters in the world during his 16-year professional career as a part of the Ultimate Fighting
Championship and the World Extreme Cagefighting organizations.
But when Faber steps into The Octagon tonight at Quicken Loans Arena for UFC 203, he will face a far different opponent, as he takes on an up-and-coming fighter in Jimmie Rivera, who is 19-1 as a pro and in the midst of an 18-fight winning streak.
“My first reaction to any fight opportunity is yes, just on instincts,” Faber said. “That’s why I’m in this sport. I’ve had plenty of fights where the guy’s virtually unknown and very tough. The ones that stand out are obviously the big fights, the fights for titles and super-fights and stuff like that, but this is part of the game.
“This is why people love to watch me. I’m here to fight. I’m not trying to protect anything. I’m not trying to protect a legacy or anything like that. I’m here to fight. I was coming off that fight with Cruz, had an amazing training camp and my weight was staying down. It’s funny. I actually started putting on weight when I started training really hard because that’s the way I am.”
Although Faber is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Dominick Cruz in a bout for the bantamweight championship back in June, he is anxious to get into the cage and test Rivera, who is 3-0 in the UFC.
“I’m excited for this fight,” Faber said. “This guy, Jimmie Rivera, I like his attitude. I like what he represents. He’s a hard-working guy. He’s a respectful guy. He’s put in his time, and it sounds like guys are dodging him because he’s tough and not many people know him, and I think that’s B.S. There’s a bunch of wussies out there. This is not a sport to be a baby.”
The one thing Faber does not like about Rivera is some of the comments made about his career. And for that, “The California Kid” looks to improve his career record to 34-9 with a win over Rivera.
“I haven’t heard any interviews, but I heard him say about me not evolving in the sport or something weird like that,” Faber said. “That’s just an ignorant statement. That kind of tweaked a little bit. I’ve been at the top of my weight class in whatever weight class I’ve been in the last 13 years. I don’t know how you do that without evolving.
“If you see the guys, even the fights he’s had outside of the UFC have been very tough. We’re talking about the best guys in the world, and you only get recognition when you get these opportunities. I’m not here to stop anyone from having an opportunity. I actually hate that. A guy like this, he’s earned whatever he gets, and right now, he’s earned a whooping from me.”