Interview with WEC 52 Main Event Fighter Urijah Faber

Urijah Faber is mixing things up.

The decorated former WEC featherweight champion is making the move down to bantamweight, beginning tonight with his main event bout at WEC 52 against Takeya Mizugaki from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

I had a chance to catch up with the MMA legend as he gears up for Mizugaki.

During the interview Faber discusses his change in weight, the WEC/UFC merger, and what’s in his future. Enjoy.

The Scores Report: Well Urijah, it is fight week, how are you feeling?

Urijah Faber: I feel great. I am just working on getting my weight down. I am within striking distance now. I am walking around about 7 or 8 pounds over. (Faber weighed in at 136 pounds for his 135-pound fight on Wednesday night).

TSR: What has the weight cut been like? You have been fighting at featherweight for a while now and really haven’t had a strenuous cut as you have for this fight.

UF: It’s going better. My body feels great. I have been doing the cut steadily over the last few months. It has kind of been the opposite for me because before I was doing what I could to keep food in and stay heavy and now I am trying to eat lighter and lose weight. Initially the weight was easy to lose but the closer you get to 135, the harder the pounds are to shed. When I went through the practice cut, the last few pounds were pretty tough.

TSR: Do you notice anything different with your abilities at this lighter weight?

UF: I feel like my grappling is at a whole new level. When I competed in wrestling I always competed at 133 pounds, so being at this weight to fight, I feel like my skills are where I need them to be. I feel like I have great conditioning already and I feel faster and even stronger.

TSR: This fight with Mizugaki was originally scheduled for WEC 50 back in August but you had to pull out with a knee injury. Have you fully recovered from that injury?

UF: Yeah. My health is great and I am 100 percent. I have made a full recovery. It took about six weeks and even when I was recovering, I could still train and just not use the injured leg, so I was able to stay in great shape.

TSR: Give me your thoughts on your opponent. What do you feel he does well?

UF: His strength is his stand up. He has good hands and he has god takedown defense and submission defense. He has a couple decent takedowns too. The guy has a ton of heart too and he is not an easy guy to get past, but I think I have better all-around skills and will be comfortable wherever the fight goes.

TSR: The UFC recently announced it would be absorbing the WEC and its roster in 2011. What do you think of that decision and where were you when you heard the news?

UF: I basically got a call from manager at MMA INC. Had all us guys from Team Alpha Male on a conference call and told us what was going on. We were all stoked. We all went to practice that day on cloud nine. The implications for exposure and notoriety and pay all go up so much by becoming part of the UFC.

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