UFC 181 provided a lot of memorable action, and while Urijah Faber was responsible for some of it, really, it was for the wrong reasons.
If you missed, Faber emerged from the December 6th card with a second round, submission win over Franciso Rivera, but the victory has a mental asterisk beside it, due to how the fight ended.
Rivera was able to land some telling punches early in the fight, but in round two, Faber ended up finishing the bout with a bulldog choke, which came after he accidentally poked Rivera in the eye. The latter was, and is, extremely upset about how the fight went down, and is reportedly going to appeal the defeat.
Faber appeared on “MMA Junkie.com Radïo” recently, and here is some of what he had to say about the controversial victory (quotes via MMA Junkie.com):
“I feel like I did what I needed to do. I’ve been in a lot of situations where things didn’t go my way, like the (Renan) Barao fight. I feel like I was still defending myself (before the stoppage). So it’s unfortunate when you don’t get to put your full effort out there and things like that happened, but I don’t know what’s in the future.”
While many people believe Faber’s second bout with Barao was indeed stopped prematurely, it’s doubtful Rivera and his fans will take any comfort in knowing that sometimes (often) bad calls get made.
So, is Faber open to fighting Rivera again? If the UFC wants a do over?
“I don’t really make those decisions,” said Faber, who has won two straight bouts now since his aforementioned, stoppage loss to Barao in February. “I’ll do whatever the UFC wants, so if they want me to fight that fight again, I’d be OK with that.”
Now, we’ll wait and see if Rivera’s appeal is successful, or if the UFC looks to book Faber-Rivera II. While a rematch seems like the right thing to do, and plenty of fans would likely want to see it, the promotion might hold off to see what unfolds in the bantamweight division.
Faber is a big, big name, and the UFC might want to use him if they need a replacement bout in the near future.
UFC 181 went down at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.