SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- It’s been the quickest, cheapest knock on the career of Urijah Faber: People, usually new on the MMA bandwagon, dismiss Faber’s record in championship matches in an attempt to run down his legacy.
But while he came up short in several UFC title challenges, Faber was, in fact, a world champion during his heyday. Faber held the WEC featherweight championship for more than 2-1⁄2 years from early 2006 until November 2008 as the company exploded onto the national spotlight at the height of the MMA boom.
That belt was the direct lineal descendant of the 145-pound belt recently held by Conor McGregor, and which was worn for six years and will once again be defended by Jose Aldo.
The WEC belt was the world title at 145 pounds during Faber’s day. And as Faber gets set for his final career fight on Saturday against Brad Pickett, an otherwise easygoing media scrum got a little testy as Faber defended his legacy.
“The truth is, it depends on how educated you are on the sport,” Faber said. “At the time [the WEC] was owned by the UFC, by Zuffa, it was the only organization that was promoting at the time. The guys that know, know.“
It wasn’t just Faber, of course. The WEC’s legacy fighters, who held world titles everywhere from flyweight to lightweight in the WEC or the UFC or both, speak for themselves.
“We had Jose Aldo, and Jens Pulver, and Mighty Mouse, and Dominick Cruz, and everyone under the sun,” Faber said. “[Anthony] Pettis, these guys were all champions in the WEC and the UFC. There is no doubt I was the world champion when that was the world championship belt.”