UFC President Dana White has put an end to speculation regarding the future of the bantamweight belt by publicly stating what many had already assumed would be true – the winner of the bout between Brian Bowles and Urijah Faber at UFC 139 will emerge as top contender to the division’s title. Bowles and Faber are both former champions under the Zuffa banner who are also widely considered among the top 135ers in MMA.
White’s confirmation came in a recent conversation with ESPN where he referred to Demetrious Johnson’s current streak and victory over Miguel Torres as reason for receiving an October shot at current champ Dominick Cruz rather than awarding the opportunity to Faber/Bowles.
Another aspect likely considered in the case of “The California Kid” was the fact he fought Cruz earlier this month at UFC 132, falling in the end by way of Unanimous Decision. Faber entered the match-up having won back-to-back fights since dropping down from featherweight and holds an overall record of 25-5 with wins over Eddie Wineland, Takeya Mizugaki, Jeff Curran, and in a 2007 clash with Cruz.
Bowles also saw action at the July 2 event, emerging with a victory over Mizugaki after submitting Damacio Page at UFC Live 3 in his previous pairing. Bowles is 10-1 with the only flaw on his record coming as the result of an injury stoppage after breaking his hand in a WEC title-fight with Cruz.
UFC 139 is scheduled for November 19 in San Jose. The only other officially announced bout involves middleweights Chris Weidman and Tom Lawlor, though a heavyweight headliner between champ Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos has been rumored for the show.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC