Tomorrow night at UFC 169 in Newark, New Jersey former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber will once again attempt to win UFC gold as he challenges bantamweight champion Renan Barao. Faber's bout with Barao will mark his third UFC title fight since 2011 and many are questioning if this will be the 34 year old's final opportunity at championship.
Faber's 2012 bid for the interim UFC bantamweight title against Renan Barao ended with a unanimous decision loss and even then people were questioning if Faber would be able to climb the mountain again. Four impressive wins, and an injury to now former bantamweight champion Dominic Cruz and Faber is right back in the mix fighting for a belt.
Faber's last four fights have proven that he is still a serious contender. Three of Faber's four victories came by submission and by no means did Faber look like a guy who was slowing down. Faber's four wins all came in 2013, making it even more impressive.
Faber did in one year what many do in two. Three of the four guys Faber defeated are currently in the top 15 according the UFC bantamweight rankings.
Based on recent performance, it is not fair to say that Faber is no longer fighting at a high level, because he is. There is no question about his talent either. Faber is one of the most well rounded fighters in the UFC. He is a multi-faceted, diverse striker, with great speed and quickness. Faber is also a high level wrestler and submission fighter.
Should Faber lose to Barao a second time, a move to another division may be the only option. A move back up to featherweight would present some new fights for Faber. Even catchweight fights with lightweight fighters would be interesting. A win for Faber would certainly set up a rematch with Barao, and possibly Cruz sometime down the road.
Faber will walk out of UFC 169 with options no matter what the outcome is. However, the outcome of Faber's fight with Barao will determine his path moving forward. This fight is without a doubt the most important fight of Faber's career.
While the importance of this fight is huge, Urijah Faber is far from finished as a top level fighter. At 34, Faber continues to improve and looks better then ever. UFC 169: Barao vs Faber airs live on pay per view tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. central time.