MMA Ratings Podcast

July 13, 2019

UFC Sacramento: Urijah Faber Is More California Dad Than California Kid In His Comeback Fight

By Adam Martin

Fans and media were surprised when UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber announced he was coming out of retirement to fight Ricky Simon at UFC Sacramento. Although the allure of fighting in his native Sacramento, California was too much for him to turn down, the fact remains that Faber is now 40 years old and has not fought since 2016. He is no longer "The California Kid."

A lot has happened in the three years since Faber last competed in December 2016, when he defeated Brad Pickett in what most figured would be the end of his MMA career. Faber returns to the Octagon as a married man and a father with new motivations to fight. Whereas before he was fighting because he loved the game, now he has the motivation of putting food on his family's table. We've seen how that has changed Donald Cerrone's mindset, and Faber could be in the same boat.

That being said, the fact that he is returning to such a dangerous sport at age 40 is still very surprising. Faber has a lot going on outside the Octagon. He owns and operates Team Alpha Male and has plenty of other businesses, not to mention that he made plenty of money during his MMA career. But he still truly loves competing and wants to show the world he still has some gas left in the tank. We'll find out tonight if that's the case.

What's perhaps most surprising about Faber's comeback is his opponent. Rather than returning to face another aging legend or someone else his age, Faber takes on the rising prospect Simon, a 26 year old who is riding an eight-fight win streak with three straight wins in the UFC. He's the "kid" in this matchup, not Faber. It's not an easy fight for Faber to come back to, but he wants to challenge himself, and you have to respect him for that.

At the same time, though, it's time for the 'California Kid' moniker to go. Faber is a grown adult with a family now. This sport is a lot different than when he started fighting in the early 2000s. He just saw his friend and teammate Chad Mendes retire at age 34, citing the dangers of concussions. Faber still has the itch to compete, and that's commendable., but he needs to be realistic and admit he's not a kid any longer -- he's the 'California Dad' now.

The betting odds for this fight list Simon as a massive favorite. It seems like there is little support for Faber to win this fight, despite it being in his hometown of Sacramento. That's because father time gets us all, even someone like Faber who seemed like he had been a youngster forever. He's not young now, though. He's 40 years old with a family, and he's putting himself in harms way against an emerging talent in Simon. We've seen this story too many times in MMA history, and it rarely works out the older fighter. The odds are stacked against Faber, and that's nothing to kid about.

UFC on ESPN+ 13
Urijah Faber vs. Ricky Simon

UFC on ESPN+ 13: De Randamie vs. Ladd takes place July 13, 2019 at Golden1 Center in Sacramento, California.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN+ 13 Pre-Fight Analysis

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