One of the most famous phrases in the fighting world is “pound for pound.”
We use that to transcend weight classes and compare fighters, so we can decide which ones are the best in the world. And let’s not kid ourselves we all have our pound for pound favorites.
One of mine is Urijah Faber. The California Kid meets all my criteria for being one of the premier fighters in the world. And to be frank, he’s one of my favorite fighters to root for personally.
He can beat his opponent in a variety of different ways.
He rarely loses.
He does unique things in the ring that we’ve never seen before.
He finishes off his opponents when the opportunity presents itself.
He takes on all comers.
He is a very entertaining and talented fighter.
He respects MMA and is a great ambassador for the sport.
Put that all together and those are the main reasons I always have Faber ranked at the top of my pound for pound rankings. Having said that, I believe that after Sunday night, Faber will be 1-2 in his last three fights.
As we all know, fighting is often based on match-ups. First let me say that I am not in the “Mike Brown got lucky camp.” Those people who think Brown won with a lucky punch the first time out couldn’t be more misguided.
Brown is a darn good fighter. He’s won nine straight fights and hasn’t lost in nearly four years.
And even before the big right hand that dropped Faber, he was tossing the former featherweight champion around the cage like a rag doll. So, luck had nothing to do with Brown’s victory. He was the much better man that night.
But I think if we were talking about overall skills, a lot of us would give the edge to Faber. Not many fighters have the diverse arsenal of striking, wrestling, Muay Thai, submissions and defense that the California Kid possesses.
However, I believe Brown is just a flat-out bad match-up for Faber. This happens in MMA sometimes. I think the most famous case was in one of the biggest moneymaking fights of all-time between Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell.
I was always a big Ortiz fan but after watching these two fighters go at it the first time, the rematch didn’t hold much drama for me. I thought if Ortiz and Liddell squared off 100 times, “The Iceman” would have won around 97 times.
Liddell just presented a terrible match-up for the ground and pounding Ortiz. Liddell, who had arguably the best takedown defense in MMA history, just wouldn’t allow Ortiz to shoot in and bring him to the mat.
This made Ortiz one-dimensional and forced him to stand and slug it out with Liddell. It was only a matter of time before one of the sport’s greatest strikers would emerge victorious.
I see this being the same kind of bad match-up for Faber. The two fighters may technically weigh the same but anyone with eyes can see that Brown is the bigger man.
I have lifted weights for many years and I’m a pretty solid guy. But I weigh the same as Cheick Kongo. Trust me – and you can ask my wife if you don’t believe me – Kongo is a much bigger dude than I am, despite us weighing exactly the same and both having muscular builds.
Physically, Brown is thicker and stronger than Faber and we saw that in the first fight, well before the knockout. Is there any reason to believe that’s going to change on Sunday night? I don’t think so.
Now Faber can fight a lot of different ways but he’s most effective when he either clinches and strikes from close range or takes his opponent to the ground with his excellent wrestling skills. I just can’t see him doing either to the bigger, stronger Brown.
This means Faber will most likely be forced to stand and exchange and while he is comfortable in fighting that style, that’s advantage Brown.
Faber is a fighter who is going to knock you out with a couple of precision shots, not one huge blow. With Brown’s power, it’s one and done, as Faber found out in the first fight.
And just like in the Ortiz-Liddell match-up, I think it’s only a matter of time before Brown takes advantage, lands a big shot and comes away with the win.
As I scanned the Internet this past week, I saw a lot of people chalking this fight up to Faber and basically calling it a mere formality. I couldn’t disagree more. Faber may win because he’s one of the best fighters in the world but even if he does regain the title, it’s going to be a war.
Like I said, Urijah Faber is one of my favorite fighters and I will be rooting for him on a personal level Sunday night. However, if I’m being objective, it will be Brown who answers his critics at WEC 41 and scores another resounding win, putting his name in the pound for pound discussion as well.