Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar likely for UFC 157
While it was rumored that Urijah Faber would take on Vaughan Lee at UFC 156, that bout was put in doubt when Lee said he never signed a bout. It may have been that the bout was set to take place, but the UFC opted to go in a different direction. It’s understandable that the UFC would want Faber on the UFC 157 fight card since he is a big draw to a California card. UFC 157 takes place on February 23rd in Anaheim, California. The only other bout rumored for the card is the long awaited light-heavyweight title eliminator between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida.
The fight against Faber was one I actually called for when Menjivar picked up his last win at UFC 154. It makes sense on multiple levels. This is is a rematch from 2006 that ended in controversy when Menjivar illegally up-kicked Faber. Second, both fighters are nowhere close to a title shot with both having recent losses to interim champion Renan Barao. Lastly, it will answer who has it left in them to stay at the top of the bantamweight division. When veterans have been in the fight game as long as Faber and Menjivar, people start to question if they are a gatekeeper or a legitimate future contender.
The biggest thing Menjivar has going for him is that he has not taken the damage that Faber has over his long career. Menjivar had essentially retired from 2006 until 2010 when he returned, since the lighter weight classes were more relevant. In that time Faber had helped grow the sport and made those lighter weight classes actually possible. It will be interesting if Menjivar can coax a ground fight out of Faber since he only seems interested in fighting on the feet lately. Both have a lot of wins by submission, and a good ground battle is something no fan can ever turn down.