Former four-time title challenger Urijah Faber is all set to fight Petr Yan at UFC 245 this weekend at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Faber made his Octagon return after coming out of 2-year retirement earlier this year at UFC Sacramento. He knocked out #15 ranked contender Ricky Simon in the first round at the Golden 1 Center. It took the California Kid just 45-seconds to unload an overhand right on Simon to drop him and then follow up with a series of strikes until the referee had to step in.
However, when he steps inside the cage this weekend against the #4 ranked bantamweight contender Petr Yan, there will be a lot on the line for Urijah Faber, who has a long history with Japan and a deep relationship with many Japanese fighters. Like Jose Aldo, the California kid also shares a strong connection to the country of Japan.
“My first experience in Japan was in college, with UFC Davis, I did an exchange. We took a team and wrestled all the universities across the entire country. We’d have a competition, then we’d have dinner and go drink beers and relax. It was awesome. I loved the culture. Ever since then, I’ve felt a kinship with Japanese.
“In competition with Japanese fighters, I always know I’m in for a tough fight. They have heart and great technique. My favorite experience was my grappling match with Sakuraba, because he was my favorite fighter. He had a wrestling background and ‘fighting spirit’. So, being able to compete against him was amazing.
“Teruto Ishihara, Tanaka, Namiki and a whole host of fighters have come through our program at Team Alpha Male and became part of the team. And Teruto Ishihara’s interviews after fights were awesome!
“Now, this win (over Yan) puts me right there in title contention. I’ll be on a three-fight win streak over the last four and a half years (laughs). Henry Cejudo is going to have a fight at 125 pounds first, then I’ll be there ready and poised to grab the belt.” Faber shares his experience about Japanese fighters.
His opponent Petr Yan is coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Jimmie Rivera in his last fight at UFC 238 in June. He is also riding on a five-fight winning streak inside the UFC.