"I've got to say, Urijah -- man, that dude hits hard," Cruz said after the fight. "He hits hard, his hands move fast. ... Thank you, God."
Both 135-pounders have unorthodox styles, and the clash of those styles was a sight to behold: They both moved around the Octagon like waterbugs, taking strange angles, clashing together and then pulling apart. The fight was close and competitive, and it was surprising that one judge scored it 50-45 for Cruz, saying that Cruz had won all five rounds. The other two judges scored it 49-46 and 48-47 for Cruz, which seemed like more reasonable scores.
Cruz came in as the reigning champion because he was the last bantamweight champion of World Extreme Cagefighting, which the UFC absorbed at the end of last year. But Faber was the WEC's most popular fighter and its former featherweight champion, and he was clearly the fan favorite on Saturday night: The crowd in Las Vegas chanted "Faber! Faber!" in the early going, and Cruz was booed.
Faber said afterward that he thought he deserved to win the decision, but despite his longstanding personal animosity with Cruz, he was classy in defeat.
"I thought it was going to be a tough fight," Faber said. "I thought I landed the heavier punches, I had him off a couple times. But congratulations to Dominick. He won. It wasn't enough of an output on my side to make it a decision, and I didn't finish him. I felt like it could have gone either way, I felt like I won the fight, but you can't really judge when it comes to that, so congratulations to Dominick."
Faber had previously defeated Cruz in 2007, and UFC announcer Joe Rogan suggested to Faber during the post-fight interview that they should settle things once and for all with a rubber match.
"That'd be great," Faber said. "Let's do it."
A third Cruz-Faber fight may be in the offing, but for now, Cruz remains the UFC champion, and the best bantamweight in the world.
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