On a night when boxing legend Bernard Hopkins ended his storied career flat out on the floor of the Forum in Inglewood, California, MMA legend Urijah Faber’s tale came to a much more satisfying and fitting conclusion 600km or so up the road in Sacramento.
‘The California Kid’, who has often been credited with changing the way the masses thought about the lighter weight-classes, closed out his career by utterly dominating tough English veteran Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett over three rounds at UFC on Fox 22.
Fighting in front of an adoring crowd in his home town, the 37-year-old former WEC featherweight champion almost finished Pickett with strikes in the opener, but in the end had to settle for a wide unanimous decision by three scores of 30-26.
It was the 34th victory of Faber’s 44-fight, 13-year professional career.
After the show, Faber sat down with Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier and his old foe Dominick Cruz to discuss the fight, his career and the future. This led to a cool moment, as Cruz bestowed a thoughtful gift upon the man with whom he shared the cage on three occasions – a signed WEC 26 poster.
WEC 26, all the way back in 2007, was the event at which Faber and Cruz first fought. Prior to that show, Cruz had been asked to autograph a plethora of posters for the event – posters from which his face was strangely absent. So, ever the instigator, ‘The Dominator’ signed his name over Faber’s face on each and every one of them. This rankled Faber and it is generally seen as the genesis of what has been a bitter feud.
The poster that the reigning UFC bantamweight champion handed over on Saturday, however, was not defaced in such a manner.
You can watch the interview below…
Following Faber’s win, the reaction was exactly what you would expect in the wake of the retirement of such a highly-respected and well-liked fighter…
— danawhite (@danawhite) December 18, 2016
— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) December 18, 2016
— Mike Swick (@officialswick) December 18, 2016
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) December 18, 2016
— TJ Dillashaw (@TJDillashaw) December 18, 2016
— BANGMuayThaicom (@DUANEBANGCOM) December 18, 2016
My respect! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 https://t.co/eULQ225iaN
— Jose Aldo Junior (@josealdojunior) December 18, 2016
Thank you for all you have done for this sport @UrijahFaber
You've been can't miss since the first time I've seen you fight
— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocic) December 18, 2016
— Ray Borg (@tazmexufc) December 18, 2016
For sure someone that inspired me to get into this sport. A pioneer. It was an honor to share… https://t.co/O1nwAjT7L5
— Frankie Edgar (@FrankieEdgar) December 18, 2016
What a great career! It was an honor to share that octagon with you brother. Congrats man! @UrijahFaber
— Michael McDonald (@MaydayMcDonald) December 18, 2016
— Joseph Benavidez (@JoeJitsu) December 18, 2016