Mixed martial arts legend Urijah Faber will say goodbye to the cage and the sport where he became a champion as he announced his retirement earlier this week. Faber will fight one last time in front of his hometown Sacramento crowd when he faces British fighter Brad Pickett at UFC on FOX 22 at the Golden 1 Center on December 17th.
Faber is a former World Extreme Cagefighting Featherweight champion, a title he held for two years before losing it to Mike Brown at WEC 36. He fought for the championship again at WEC 48 against Jose Aldo and lost a second time before the organization’s fighters were folded into the UFC.
Faber was undoubtedly the face of the organization before other stars like Brian Stann and Carlos Condit began to diversify the WEC brand.
Since entering the big show at UFC 128, Faber has compiled at record of 9-6 and has beat notable opponents like Eddie Wineland, Brian Bowles, Scott Jorgensen, Michael McDonald and Alex Caceres. He entered the UFC as a bantamweight, a weight class he hadn’t fought in since his time on the small show circuit before entering the WEC. He fought for the UFC bantamweight title against champion Dominic Cruz in only his second UFC appearance at UFC 132, where he lost via unanimous decision.
That started an epic war between the two that culminated in their title rematch at UFC 199, where Cruz again took the unanimous decision. Faber beat Cruz when they first fought at WEC 26 for Faber’s then-WEC bantamweight title.
Sacramento fans will have the opportunity to give Faber (33-10) his final send-off and Faber must be given credit for placing the city firmly on the MMA map. His gym, Urijah Faber’s Ultimate Fitness is also the home of Team Alpha Male, and has yielded some MMA stars. Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, Danny Castillo and Paige Van Zant are just a few of the fighters birthed from the gym.
Pickett (26-12) gets the honors for Faber’s swansong fight and although he will truly be in enemy territory, he has weathered storms like this before and always entertains with his tenacity. Pickett has competed in four different weight divisions and has amassed 18 finishes as a pro.
Faber helped MMA grow into a household name with his charisma, athleticism and willingness to fight anyone in various divisions. After December 12th, “The California Kid” will truly be missed. Unless, of course, he changes his mind.