Fans who were anxiously awaiting the return of UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will have to wait a little longer. Shortly after the now former champion pulled out of his bout with Renan Barao, UFC President Dana White announced that Urijah Faber would be stepping in for a rematch against Barao. It is unfortunate that Cruz is out of the bout but the UFC and fight fans are better off with Faber and Barao’s rematch than Cruz’s return. Here are three reasons why everyone is better off with the rematch.
1. Urijah Faber has been on a Roll
As sexy as the words “title unification bout” are, Cruz hasn’t fought in over two years and would probably have significant ring rust. Faber on the other hand won four fights against top competition in 2013. This past February Faber bullied Ivan Menjivar for an entire round before latching on to Menjivar’s back like a monkey and submitting “The Pride of El Salvador” with a rear naked choke. Less than two months later, Faber put on a solid performance against perennial contender Scott Jorgensen submitting him in the fourth round. In August 2013 Faber overcame early adversity against fast rising Iuri Alcantara en-route to a dominant decision win. Faber’s first three fights of 2013 were impressive but his best fight of 2013 happened just last month where he dominated Michael McDonald before submitting him with a guillotine choke in the second round. Faber’s 2013 is enough to make anyone forget about his first fight with Barao and makes him the most dangerous opponent to the current champion.
2. Renan Barao needs a rival
While Dominick Cruz would have presented an interesting obstacle for Barao nothing beats a good old rivalry. Out of all of Barao’s fights in the UFC, Faber was the most competitive with the Brazilian. While Barao seemed to be head and shoulders above Faber the first time around, he still left some openings that a reinvigorated California Kid can take advantage of. Another win over Faber would solidify Barao’s number one ranking as he would be taking out one of the UFC’s hottest fighters. Barao and the fans can only gain from this matchup.
Let’s face it, the UFC is all about making money. Like I said earlier the words “title unification bout” are definitely sexy but bringing in a bonafied superstar like Faber adds a bit more cash to Zuffa’s pockets. I’ve seen some fans argue that Cruz would pull in more pay-per-view buys but let’s not be silly. There are multiple reasons why Faber will bring in far more dough for the UFC than Cruz. One, Faber has actually fought since 2011. Two, Faber has fought on Fox, Fox Sports 1’s debut show, and a 450,000 buy paper view in the last twelve months. The amount of fans who have seen Faber over the past year far outweighs Cruz who he has been relegated to being an analyst on the seldom watched Fox Sports 1. Three, as a fan are you more likely to shell out $59.99 for the best Urijah Faber we’ve ever seen or a questionable Cruz against Barao. I’ll let you answer that one.
At the end of the day I wish Dominick Cruz a speedy recovery but Urijah Faber versus Renan Barao II is simply a better fight.