When you hear “California Love” blaring over the loud speakers while you wait in the ring, at that moment you know you’re getting into a fight with one of the best champions the WEC has ever seen.

The song goes hand-in-hand with former featherweight champion Urijah Faber, who has been one of the staples of the lighter weight classes for the past five years. Faber is arguably one of the most popular fighters in the UFC and is yet again seemingly “in the mix” for an unprecedented fifth title shot in eight fights.

Split between two divisions, Faber had been earning his title shots based off skill—which was dominating his weight class in every facet, whether it be speed, wrestling or that famous guillotine choke.

Lately though, much like Chael Sonnen, Faber has been getting the title shot off his name, which helps sell more pay-per-views than anyone else in the division. Faber is still a world-class fighter and has the skills to hang with anybody, but at this point his name has outpaced his skills, considering that the top two fighters in the division—Renan Barao and Dominick Cruz—have beaten Faber in title fights in seemingly convincing wins.

Faber gets to show off his skill once again against Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157 and could possibly earn yet another title shot with a win. Faber and Menjivar have previously met in Canada, where Menjivar lost the fight because of a disqualification due to an illegal kick to a downed opponent. This time around, though, both fighters are more mature and have vastly improved since the Jan. 2006 meeting.

Regardless of who wins here, each fighter finds himself at the cusp of a title shot. Menjivar has gone 4-2 since making his bantamweight debut, with his only losses coming against top fighters like Brad Pickett and Mike Easton. In that span, though, he hasn’t beaten top competition, but a win over Faber certainly pushes him into the talk for a title shot. Menjivar may need one more win on top of Faber, but there is no denying what a win over a top-three bantamweight like Faber does for your title prospects.

Faber can certainly keep himself afloat in the title picture with a win here, as outside of the aforementioned Barao and Cruz, Faber is better than the rest of the bantamweight division. His wrestling, coupled with hand speed and improving striking that seems to grow leaps and bounds after losses, makes him a perennial contender, whether fans like it or not.

This fight is certainly one to watch, as both fighters have the skill necessary to put on a “Fight of the Night” performance. It’s a big contender’s fight too, and hey, maybe we will see that fifth title shot for Faber. And maybe he will break the streak next time around and prove once and for all that his name hasn’t outpaced his skill and that he, in fact, is still the top fighter in the lighter weight classes.

Photo: Urijah Faber (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.