There goes two years of rehab down the drain, because just three weeks out from his title unification bout with interim Bantamweight champion Renan Barao, Dominick Cruz has torn his groin. Now, he has vacated the title, and Barao was given sole custody of the UFC Bantamweight champion. This is something he had waited so long for, but it is most likely not the way he wished it went down. Barao does not have time to celebrate though, because he still has a fight three weeks away and it comes against a past foe. Urijah Faber was known to be next in line for a title shot, and he has stepped up to take the fight.
Per his Twitter he says there is not need to worry, because he remain ready at all times for a fight. Just two years ago the prospect of Barao and Faber fighting for the title seemed like a far fetched idea. Barao dismantled Faber in there first fight leaving no wanting or need for a second rematch, but in the time since that fight a lot has happened. Barao has only fought twice in that 18 month span finishing Michael MacDonald by submission in the fourth round and an early stoppage against Eddie Wineland in the second. Faber, on the other hand, has amassed a 4-0 record since the first time he met Barao.
Faber re-invented himself with submission wins over Scott Jorgensen, Ivan Menjivar, and a decision win over tough up and comer Iuri Alcantara. His most impressive win came this last December on Fox where he dismantled Michael MacDonald on the feet, and finished him off with a submission on the ground. It showed the Faber was still the number two fighter in the 135 pound division. This fight has some eerily similarities between the first time they fought but in reverse.
Last time, Faber was expected to fight Dominick Cruz but an injury pulled Cruz from the fight and Barao came in on short notice. There was no champion and Barao won an interim title. There still is no clear champion since Cruz is still hurt even if Barao has the title. Now, Barao was lined up for a fight with Cruz, but he pulled out due to an injury and Faber has come in on short notice. Back then, Faber was the title fight veteran while Barao was picking off all the hungry up and comers. Now, Barao has been in all title fights, and Faber has picked off a plethora of top ten Bantamweights. Will this finally be the time that Faber touches gold in the UFC, or is this Barao’s title to keep?