There have been a lot of rivalries over the years in MMA, but very few of them can match the intensity between UFC bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.
At UFC On Fox 22, Faber will be competing for the final time, but even though Faber is one of his biggest rivals, the champion still has some praise for Faber.
“I think it’s a good thing for him,” Cruz said on The MMA Hour. ”Honestly, he’s going to be a great manager. He’s already a great manager. He’s been a great manager to these guys for how long? Dressing them out in Torque. He’s been making money on his team since this thing started while he fought, so finally he’s going to get out of the fight game and just make money wholly on these fighters that he promotes. Right now, Cody is the guys that he’s promoting. He’s making the most money off Cody. He’s dressing him out in Torque. He’s got Cody wearing Urijah Faber shirts everywhere he goes, and so it’s a genius move on his part because he’s leaving the sport, he’s still making prize money, but then he’s still managing fighters, so he gets a cut of their purse because he’s got stock in the management company that manages all of these fighters in a lump sum, including himself. So it’s just smart for him. He’s a businessman. That’s what he does. He’s almost a promoter, but he just was fighting so he couldn’t quite do it. If he could run his own show, he would. I think this is a good move for him.”
Cruz and Faber were to two most dominant champions in the now-defunct World Extreme Cagefighting promotion and while their UFC runs went in different directions, Cruz sees how the time they shared in MMA has affected both of their careers.
“To be perfectly honest, the guy started this sport in the lighter weight class,” Cruz said. “When I first started this thing, there was only 155-pounders and up. And because he had a good following in Sacramento, that whole town got behind him, he was able to get people to show up to the shows and be able to make a run for the lighter weight classes. Without him, without a star, an early star in the early days in this sport, the lighter weight classes might not have been made. That’s the truth. I was there right next to him, right with him. The difference is, he was bashing me down while he was the star, so I didn’t get the limelight. And that’s okay. That made me who I am today. I’m appreciative for Urijah Faber. I’m appreciative for the rivalry. I’m appreciative for the fights that I have with that man. I’m going to look back in time and be glad that we fought like we did and said the things that we did about each other, and I’m happy for his future. And that whole thing with me and him is completely buried. Like, I couldn’t be happier that chapter of my life is done, and I wish him nothing but the best. However, his little stepson, Cody ‘No Love,’ is about to get worked. And that’s something that’s going to affect him. So I’m sorry about that, because I’m going affect his money yet again.”
UFC On Fox 22 takes place tonight from the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California with Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson headlining.