The California Kid’s fighting career has come to an end before he could capture UFC gold. In many ways, that’s exactly what Faber’s career was about – chasing the elusive UFC championship belt. Faber actually had four chances to win the bantamweight title, but he lost two fights each to dominant champions, coming short against both Renan Barão and Dominick Cruz.
Urijah Faber may not be remembered as a champion, but there was a time when he was the featherweight king.
Back at World Extreme Cagefighting 19 (2006), Faber won the company’s Featherweight title – which he would hold for over two years. Faber was also the featherweight Champion of the King of the Cage promotion, but he would relinquish that title to sign an exclusive WEC deal. He was the Undisputed Featherweight Champion of the world at that time.
That was arguably Faber’s fighting peak, even though he would pick up another 10 wins inside the UFC’s octagon once the WEC was acquired by the UFC parent company, ZUFFA. By the time he entered the UFC, Faber was fighting in the bantamweight division, after a devastating loss to José Aldo in WEC opened his eyes to the reality of his future at 145lbs.
Though Faber wasn’t a champion when he entered the UFC, he would headline four separate UFC cards and co-main event many others – which is a true testament to his star power.
Sacramento is also the home of Team Alpha Male, Faber’s gym. As coach, Faber produced some of the best fighters in the world under 155 pounds. Joseph Benavidez, Chad Mendes, Danny Castillo, T.J. Dillashaw, and Paige VanZant were all given a considerable amount of exposure by “The California Kid.”
Faber’s final fight took place at UFC Sacramento on Saturday night. In fact, Faber fought exactly half of his career in California — having been in the state for 22 of his 44 professional fights. Faber is 18-4 in The Golden State.
Audiences around the world knew that Tupac’s “California Love” signaled Faber’s high-energy walk to the cage and Saturday night’s Sacramento crowd came unglued for his entrance.
Mike Goldberg mentions that Faber is a potential Hall of Fame candidate during his walkout – quite an accomplishment for a fighter who went 10-6 inside the octagon without capturing gold.
As the first round of Faber’s last fight began, Brad Pickett quickly found himself in trouble, pinned under Faber in full-mount after being dropped, but Faber settled for a 10-8 round instead of a finish. The next two rounds were largely the same, and although Pickett connected in the third, dropping Faber. Each Judge scored the final 2 rounds a 10-9.
Still, Faber was granted a unanimous decision victory – with 30-26 scorecards across the board. His career concludes with a record of 34 wins and just 10 losses.
Gracious, even in his final post-fight interview, Faber decided to thank the crowd, his family, and all of his supporters.
“This life experience has been amazing. I honestly feel like I just got my PHD in life,” said Faber.
Faber gave a shout out to VanZant and wished her luck in her fight and reminded everyone that Team Alpha Male member Cody Garbrandt was soon set to battle Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title – that same title Faber couldn’t win in his four tries.
Faber made sure to thank Dana White and the Fertitta brothers. The trio heavily promoted Faber since they purchased the WEC – mostly because he was one of the most marketable male fighters under 145 pounds until the emergence of Conor McGregor.
“I love doing this. There’s nothing like it in the world, but I am ready to move forward and do some big things,” said Faber, in his final victory speech.
“I feel like I’ve had such a great road, and thank you all for being a part of it.”
Exit Urijah Faber.