It’s kind of a sad situation for the lighter weight classes in the UFC. They contain so much talent, yet are constantly overlooked. The UFC knows this, and that is why they once again put Urijah Faber in a title fight. It’s no secret that the UFC would love for him to be the face of the division, and he already is in many ways.
The initial ambassador of the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, Faber is well known among the MMA community. He was stuck in the UFC’s shadow for many years and served as the WEC featherweight champion. It’s believed he was one of the main reasons why the UFC expanded their roster several years ago.
If there is anyone who can bring the bantamweight division on par with the rest of the field, it’s Faber. Since joining the UFC in 2011, Faber has only lost to champions (Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao). In both of those losses, he made it to the final bell only to lose by decision.
Faber has the charisma, talent and star power to attract casual viewers. Unlike other fighters in the division who may possess more talent than Faber, he just has that X-factor to get people to watch. Jose Aldo, while being dominate in his own right, doesn’t possess that X-factor. Barao, who has been unbeaten in his last 32 fights , doesn’t possess it either.
A win against Barao Saturday would go a long way for the bantamweight division. Barao is a great young, talented champion, but without the X-factor, he won’t be able to carry the division for long. Faber winning also opens up a terrific “true champion” storyline with Cruz once he returns from injury. The fact that he and Faber hate each other just adds fuel to the fire.