You'd be wrong to take Urijah Faber lightly. Despite his easy-going persona—apparent during FHM's exclusive interview with Urijah for his main event fight tomorrow against fellow UFC big name Frankie Edgar—the submission specialist admits to being "laser-focused" all the time.
He even has the record to prove it: 17 won bouts by submission (RNC, guillotine, bulldog choke—you name it), five successful title defenses, and the man with the nickname "The California" has yet to lose a non-title fight.
So, next time you see Urijah joking around, all smiles, don't be mistaken; HE'S STILL ON YOU.
Check out our exclusive chat with UFC's No. 3 ranked bantamweight below:
INSIDE THE OCTAGON
What runs through your mind a few days before the fight?
I feel really good, you know. The weight is close, I'm up a weight so I've had a really great camp—injury-free and it felt like a new man being able to eat as much as I want during camp. Everything has been nice. I'm excited for the bout, and I'm excited to get all the media and everything else done with and just go for the performance.
How did you prepare for your main event against Frankie?
I trained a couple of times a day, and like I said, nutrition is a big part of that, made sure I had proper meals every single day. It's basically been a regular camp. You do little adjustments here and there for Frankie's style, but my gameplan is be offensive and use my offense to fight this guy. That's what we've worked on.
What does this fight signify to you?
For me this is a big fight. Not only are we representing the live sport for the first time in the Philippines but fighting a guy like Frankie who's accomplished a lot in the sport and has a great name, I'm excited to not only get in there, test myself and put on a performance for the people here and around the world, [but also] position myself for bigger opportunities, which may be title fights or super fights.
What are your opinions on UFC's globalization?
I think it's great. I feel like over the last few years, that's been a big goal for the UFC, to expand in different markets. At this point right now, coming to the Philippines, in addition to all the other countries that we've been hitting throughout the last couple of years, it's the best thing for the sport and I'm excited for it.
How has the Filipino fanbase been treating you so far?
People have been very welcoming and very excited about the fight, so I feel like the fanbase is pretty big.
You and fil-Am, Mark Muñoz, are buddies. How did that come to be?
It's funny because I just posted on my Instagram a video of my first fight in 2003, and you can see Mark in my corner! He and I worked together as coaches at University of California, Davis and became great friends. Not only was he in my corner for the first couple of fights, but over the years, he was training before he was a fighter and I kind of convinced him to come in and get started in the sport—once he smoothed it over with his wife (laughs). He and I have been friends for a very long time, and we always have each other's back, so this being a monumental fight for him—his final career fight—it's pretty impressive.
Speaking of which, what do you think of Mark's retirement fight?
He's got a lot going on. Mark has always been a guy that juggles a lot of balls, wears a lot of hats, so for him to have this opportunity to finish his career here in the Philippines is going to be pretty cool, man. I think it's something, obviously, that he has thought about for a while, and he knows what he's doing, so getting this fight here to end a career is a big deal.
What type of in-ring mentality do you carry with you to the ring?
I feel like that [being on the offensive] is a good mentality to have in our sport, because if you're worried about what the other guy's doing, then you've got the wrong mindset. You have to go in there and you have to apply your mentality and your will, and fight your fight. That's how I always bring the fight.
Who do you think have been your toughest UFC opponent yet?
So far it's definitely Jose Aldo. Aldo is a real beast, he was able to find a weakness and attack it, and just kind of destroyed my leg. Ha ha. He's big and fast for the weight class, he's a very good athlete, so he's been the toughest so far.
What do you think are your odds against Frankie, being unbeaten in all his non-title fights?
I don't really look at statistics like that; that's not a statistic I'm trying to protect by any means. I'm going out here and fight like I do every time. I'm not afraid to risk it every single time I get in a fight. That is a small part of a big career, and it's not important to me.
OUTSIDE THE OCTAGON
Who's Urijah outside the ring?
I guess the best way to describe it is pretty busy, which is good for me. I like to stay active, I like to have a lot of things going on—and that's the case right now. I'm working on mentoring my team and building it. If I can ever get to the beach, and relax, I like to do that, but for the most part I'm pretty focused.
Would you remember your last street brawl?
It's been a lot of years. I would say, maybe nine years, something like that? It was a fight, to protect my buddy; he was getting jumped by three guys and I just laid a couple of punches. But I've been in some decent fights outside the octagon, but nothing I want to relive at the moment.
How do you handle fights that could sometimes erupt outside the ring?
Well, they don't happen very often. I mean if I can avoid a fight, I will. The only time I'd really need to fight someone is if I feel like I have no choice out. I don't have a problem fighting—I like to fight—so whoever the dummy is that wants to start a fight, I'm okay with that. Ha ha.
What pisses you off the most?
I don't like bullies, I don't like people who pick on people, especially if it's someone I care about. I'm never a big fan of that.
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