In traditional form the UFC appears to be building an epic card for their annual Fourth of July weekend event after adding a bantamweight title-fight between champ Dominick Cruz and fan-favorite Urijah Faber to a show already involving a co-headlining clash between B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch and a number of other notable match-ups.
News of the bantamweights’ upcoming battle was reported by way of the UFC’s Twitter account and seems to indicate neither will serve as coach on the next season of the Ultimate Fighter as had been speculated.
The two talented 135-pounders met once before in March 2007 while “The California Kid” held WEC’s featherweight title, a bout resulting in a 98-second submission of the debuting Cruz, and have been linked to a second go-round based on their success since then as well as an open, mutual dislike of one another.
“He chose me as his enemy and I accept,” Faber stated when speaking about Cruz on a recent conference call with media.
Cruz has won eight straight since the loss including a pair of point-based victories over Faber’s protégé Joseph Benavidez under WEC’s banner. He is 17-1 in his career with the bulk of his wins coming by way of decision including success against Brian Bowles and Scott Jorgensen.
The July 2 fight will mark an attempt by Faber to go 3-0 since dropping to bantamweight after losing a Unanimous Decision, and the ability to walk without a limp on a temporary basis, to Jose Aldo at WEC 48 last April. The 31-year old West Coaster holds an overall record of 24-5 including wins at 135 over Takeya Mizugaki and Eddie Wineland.
PHOTO CREDIT – WEC
In addition to Faber’s bid for gold and Fitch/Penn settling their UFC 127 draw, UFC 132 is also set to feature fights between on-the-cusp lightweights George Sotiropoulos and Evan Dunham as well as former 205-pound champ Tito Ortiz and TUF 8 winner Ryan Bader.