Urijah Faber was pushed by Frankie Saenz at UFC 194, but “The California Kid” managed to keep on the path that’s leading him to a bout with his former pal, TJ Dillashaw.
Faber worked his way to a unanimous decision win over Saenz on Saturday, and in doing so, recorded his third straight victory while competing at 135 (he was decisioned by featherweight contender Frankie Edgar in May). As a result of the win, Faber remains a top five ranked bantamweight, and in the title shot conversation.
Up until recently, Faber didn’t campaign for a title shot, since the reigning champ was part of Team Alpha Male and one of his close friends. Dillashaw has left the team, however, and well, he and Faber aren’t on the best terms.
Following UFC 194, Faber was naturally asked about his future and fighting Dillashaw, and the former WEC champ stated this (quote via MMA Junkie.com):
“I took myself off the market for a while. It’s kind of a weird thing when you’ve been at the top of any division you’ve been in for your entire career to take a back seat because of a friendship. That’s off the table now. I’ve been released from the friendship. So, I’m going to train my butt off and I’m hoping I get that call and I’ll be ready.”
Dillashaw, of course, is scheduled to fight former champ Dominick Cruz on January 17th. But, it will be interesting to see what the UFC elects to do afterwards. Either way, the UFC has a big bout to go with, as Cruz has a well documented rivalry with Faber, and yes, Dillashaw-Faber would be massive.
Raphael Assuncao, however, is waiting in the wings, and he holds a win over Dillashaw. Could he get passed over? Yes. Yes he could.
Assuncao hasn’t fought since 2014, so chances are the UFC will book him for another fight in the interim.