July 16, 2019

UFC Sacramento: Urijah Faber's Upset Win Shouldn't Get Him A Title Shot Against Henry Cejudo (But It Will)

By Adam Martin

When Urijah Faber announced he was returning to the Octagon after a three-year retirement to take on youngster Ricky Simon at UFC Sacramento, very few thought it was a good idea. There was a reason Faber had retired in the first place, and coming back to a young man's sport at age 40 didn't seem smart, especially against a young phenom like Simon. The odds were stacked against Faber heading into the matchup, and understandably so. This wasn't a fight he was supposed to win.

But instead of losing like everyone thought he would, Faber pulled off a massive upset, as he finished Simon in the first round via TKO. It was Faber's first win since a decision nod over Brad Pickett in 2016, and his first TKO win since 2007 when he was in WEC. The odds of an older fighter returning after a long layoff to beat a youngster on the rise were slim, but Faber beat the odds and picked up arguably the most impressive victory of his UFC career.


Immediately after finishing Simon, Faber took the mic to call out the UFC's bantamweight-flyweight double champion Henry Cejudo, returning the favor after Cejudo called Faber out following his TKO win over Marlon Moraes at UFC 238. It's a fight that both men want, (yes, this week Faber suggested that a bigger fight would be against ex-teammate TJ Dillashaw, but Dillashaw isn't available due to a USADA suspension) and in some ways it's a fight that makes sense. However, in other ways, it's a fight that doesn't make sense, so it will be interesting to see what the UFC does here.

On one hand, Faber is a big draw, and arguably would be the biggest money fight available for Cejudo at either 125 or 135. We all know the UFC matchmakers want to book the biggest fights they can, and even though the win over Simon was Faber's first win in three years, he's still arguably the biggest name in the bantamweight division. If Cejudo is after a money fight, Faber is his man.


On the other hand, Faber is barely ranked in the division, and beating a guy like Simon who was at the bottom end of the Top 15 shouldn't catapult anyone into title contention. Particularly at 135 lbs, where fighters like Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan are on great winning streaks while fighting top-level opposition. By merit, those guys deserve the fight with Cejudo far more.

But it's the UFC. We all know Dana White is all about making the biggest money fights. In this case, although there are other more deserving contenders for Cejudo's belt, Faber is the biggest name out there, and the biggest draw. Faber really shouldn't get a title shot against Cejudo next, but knowing how the UFC operates, he will. A little over a month ago, the thought of a Cejudo vs. Faber title fight was laughable. But now it seems like it's nearly a lock to happen. That's MMA for you.

UFC on ESPN+ 13
Urijah Faber vs. Ricky Simon: Urijah Faber def. Ricky Simon via knockout (punches) at 0:46 of Round 1.

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

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


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