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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Dominick Cruz's knee injury set off a swirl of changes for his longtime rival Urijah Faber, who coached against him on this season of The Ultimate Fighter on FX. First, it meant Faber's chance at avenging his decision loss from last year would be delayed. A new fight with Renan Barao gave him a dangerous challenge for an Interim Title, and now he's had his fight moved as well with the loss of Jose Aldo this weekend.
"I was very disappointed," Faber said recently of Cruz's injury in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. “I feel for the guy. As much as we get on each other's nerves there is a mutual respect there. We spent a lot of time together. We were so looking forward to ripping each other's heads off; mostly me ripping his head off and him doing his thing."
"It sucks for him, it sucks for me, because that's a big fight. The bright side is, we're gonna do it at some other point."
That may definitely require a win over Barao, however, which is not going to be an easy task when the two headline the UFC 149 card in Calgary. Indeed, Faber believes it's a more dangerous fight for him stylistically than was Cruz.
"This is the most dangerous fight in the UFC 135-pound division right now."
How he handles that danger will now be found out on July 21, and the fans in Calgary will get their first taste of the UFC with this Interim Bantamweight Championship bout.
Penick's Analysis: The UFC is obviously having some trouble with injuries this summer, but running so many events is coming at the cost of some others, with a need for bigger names tearing apart several big events, leading to more cards that are decidedly not as big as the one torn apart. UFC 148 was looking like one of the most stacked cards in UFC history, but now it's not only lost the Rich Franklin-Cung Le bout to UFC 147, but now this fight to UFC 149. Worse, with this moving to UFC 149 in Calgary, it means that fans have to pay for two pay-per-views in one month now to see these two championship fights that would have been on one card together. That's immensely disappointing, and when they still want people to pay for UFC 147 it has simply stretched that pay-per-view base thin for this summer. UFC 147 is going to be the worst performing pay-per-view in a long time in the UFC, and UFC 149 may not be salvageable even with this fight moving to the main event. The UFC's in a tough spot because they did have fights in place for these cards initially, but instead of having one really, really strong card in the middle, now they've got a one-fight affair on 148 and 149, with nothing that fans are going to be paying for on the 147 card. It's a bad spot right now.
[Urijah Faber art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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