Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will meet in the main event of UFC 132 this upcoming Saturday, July 2. It will be the first UFC main event to feature the smaller weight classes absorbed from the WEC when the two promotions merged at the start of 2011. That fact alone should pique the casual fans interest in the fight.
But if it doesn't, the on-going hatred between the two men should do more than enough to fan the flames of this scintillating bantamweight fight.
Cruz and Faber have a long history together. The two met once already, at 145 pounds, in a bout that Faber won during the height of his reign as the featherweight king. The two have hated each other ever since the lead up to that fight.
Since then the two have gone in opposite directions. Cruz successfully dropped down to 135 pounds and became the champion of the division. He has won seven straight in the bantamweight division, including victories over Brian Bowles, Scott Jorgensen and Urijah Faber's teammate Joseph Benavidez. "The Dominator" has looked to close to unstoppable during his run as the champion of the division.
Meanwhile, Faber lost his title to Mike Thomas Brown, lost the rematch and then lost in another title fight against Jose Aldo. After the Aldo fight, Faber announced his intentions to drop down to 135 pounds for the first time in his career. He has won two straight in the division and has been granted yet another title shot. Many now see this as the last shot for Faber. If the 32-year old cannot take the belt away from Cruz, his days as a title contender are almost assuredly numbered.
The champion hasn't fought since December, as an injured hand has sidelined him.
"Hand feels outstanding," Cruz told The MMA Fight Corner presented by FiveKnuckles.com. "I can't wait to use it."
With his hand healed, Cruz looks forward to embarrassing Faber in their upcoming title fight. In the midst of the pre-fight hype, some fans have been skeptical of the trash talk between the fighters. They view it as nothing more than false statements meant to drive interest and boost ticket and pay-per-view sales. A short conversation with Cruz may be enough to change their minds.
"I would have to say big headed," Cruz said when asked on what came to his mind first when he thought of Faber. "Full of himself. Loves to hear himself talk."
The animosity between the two supposedly started prior to their first encounter back in 2007. During an autograph signing to promote the bout Cruz took to signing his name over Faber's face. Faber saw this as a sign of disrespect and the two have been yapping at each other ever since.
Of course the trash talk cooled down after the fight. Cruz dropped down in weight and few thought they we would ever see the two meet again. However, once Faber announced his intentions of dropping down to 135 media and fans began to speculate that the two of them would meet one day. After two wins in the bantamweight division Faber was given his title shot and the trash talk stirred up yet again.
While Cruz isn't shy about his feelings for Faber, the bantamweight champion really couldn't care less what his challenger thinks of him.
"I mean, who cares what he thinks," Cruz said. "Of course he's not gonna like me. I'm costing him money and the guys he...