If the UFC ever wanted a star to be champion more, you would be hard pressed to find one better than Urijah Faber. Who would not want a champion that has a laid-back California style, is easy on the eyes, good in front of the cameras, and turns into a beast in the Octagon? Yeah, I think it is safe to say that the UFC wants Faber as the poster boy of the lower-weight classes. It would explain why Faber is now fighting for the belt for the third time; then again, it could be because Faber went on a rampage in 2013. Faber went undefeated in four fights during 2013 and finished three of those. Those fights were not easy fights either, as they were against top-level competition.
As successful as Faber has been, he has yet to capture UFC gold. However, I predict that all of that is about to change. There are two major reasons for this, the first one being Team Alpha Male’s head coach, Duane Ludwig. Ludwig is practically a shoo-in for coach of the year due to the fact that he gave structure, and striking skills, to a predominantly wrestling-oriented team. Instead of the team dominating fights, but rather earning decision victories, Team Alpha Male has been collecting scalps by knocking out, and submitting competitors.
The second reason why Faber is going to take this belt from Renan Barao is because he is relaxed. Faber seems to operate better when there is no pressure on him, when he can be himself and just let loose. This is the exact situation that Faber has in front of him; he stepped up on late notice to fight for the championship and save an event, so everyone already thinks that he is a hero. He also had an amazing year in 2013, so he no longer needs to prove that he is an elite fighter.
Faber just needs to keep cool, and if he can do that, then the belt is his for the taking.