Steve Marcus / Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010 | 1:35 p.m.
Former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber and UFC light heavyweight Brandon Vera were the guests of honor at a recent question-and-answer session held with fans inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Vera is set to face Jon Jones at UFC Fight Night 21 on March 21 in Broomfield, Colo. Faber will make WEC history when he meets defending WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo on the company's first ever pay-per-view broadcast April 24 in Sacramento, Calif.
Here are some of the best moments taken from the hour-long session with both fighters.
For Urijah Faber:
Are you chomping at the bit to fight Mike Brown one more time?
I feel like it's a great fight for me, style-wise especially. I was doing really well before I broke my hands and I was doing well after the hands. I'm a relaxed individual, California lifestyle. I ran around naked for a good part of my adolescence. I'm chilling, man. I'm going to fight all these guys so I'm just going to relax and enjoy the ride.
Would you ever be interested in a super fight with former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres?
I could go down to 135 pounds if he wants to fight. I'm here for a long time so I'll probably fight everybody. Miguel is in there. (Mike) Brown, I'm going to fight him again. (Jose) Aldo, I'll take care of that. I didn't know for sure if Miguel would come to 145 and he's got his hands full with my boy Joseph Benavidez (on March 6), so we'll see how he does there first before I even think about fighting him.
Is there any chance of you moving to the UFC and taking on lightweight champion B.J. Penn?
That's a super fight. I've thought about that. B.J. and I went to a USO show together. We're buddies and we've trained together but we're in the fight game to find out who's the man and I'm sure B.J. doesn't have a problem fighting me, and I don't have a problem fighting him. We'd be buddies after.
How do you cope with a loss?
I basically go into denial, like, 'There's no way that guy can beat me.' Then I get back on the training. Going into it, as far as a mental side goes, I think it's best for me to realize that my life is good and it makes it easier for me to go out and put it all out there. I hate losing, but I've still got my buddies and I've still got my family.
For Brandon Vera:
It's been said that after losing by decision to Randy Couture at UFC 105 you looked at the camera and said, 'Thanks, judges!' Is that true?
Yeah, they cut it out. I think they just ... ah ... you saw that (expletive) fight, man. You saw how that fight went. I remember just standing there thinking, 'That was a close fight. If they say split decision, I think Randy will win it. If they say unanimous, this fight is mine.' When they said unanimous for Randy, I looked at Joe (Rogan) and said, 'What did they just say?' If you leave it to the judges you never know what's going to happen so it's still my fault, but I had to thank them for their inconsideration I guess.
Now that he's back in the UFC, would you see a matchup with Chuck Liddell as a step backward in your career?
Short answer, yes. I won't lie to you. I want to fight someone I feel I have a real strong chance to lose to. The No. 3 is my number man. Sorry if you don't like that answer.
Other than a title shot, who in the 205-pound division would you want to call out right now?
I don't want to look past Jon 'Bones' Jones (on March 21). He's a very dangerous fighter. After this fight, I'm asking for the No. 3 spot. I don't care who's at No. 3. I can't ask for No. 1 or No. 2, you have to climb the ladder, but I want that No. 3 spot. I think I'm the No. 3 fighter in the 205-pound division and I'm going to ask for that spot. No matter who it is, if you're my friend, sorry, I've got to fight you baby because I want to win that title.
Who do you think won the Lyoto Machida vs. Maurico Shogun Rua fight in October?
Honestly, I thought Shogun did really well, but it was such a close fight I could see why they gave it to the champ. It's the same situation with my fight with Randy. You have to beat that man. You have to take it from him. If you don't take it convincingly and you leave it in the hands of the judges, it's anybody's guess. I thought it was a beautiful fight and I can't wait to see the rematch.
For a guy that used to a be pretty large, you got any advice for losing weight?
Honestly, it was a process — a real hard process. I'm from the South, we cook everything in Crisco. I didn't know what olive oil was until I got here. We have whole milk and then fat-free milk. In California you have a freezer full of 10 different kinds of milk. I had to get used to it. I stopped eating all the sweets and I stopped drinking soda. I cut out all the simple sugars. That sounds easy to say, it's a lot harder to do. I started eating lot more protein and lot more vegetables. I just started doing what everybody told me and it worked.
For both fighters:
From your respective brands, what are your opinions in UFC consolidating with WEC?
Faber: I really like that we have the WEC as its own brand. It's still utilizing everything that Zuffa has created and it's creating an opportunity for the top athletes in the world to perform. It's providing another top-level promotion and really at the lightweights you have a talent pool that's bar-none. We don't have football or another outlet to have a professional sport so you have the finest lightweight athletes in the world and putting them on a pedestal and that's what I love about it.
Vera: I would like to see the WEC consolidated in the UFC. It's all about branding and I'd like to have UFC an even more household name than it is now, like Nike. We'd be able to put on more events because we'd have all the fighters under one umbrella. It would be awesome to have the little 135-pounders that buzz around like bees beating on each other on a UFC card.
How do you feel about guys like Kimbo Slice and Brock Lesnar coming into the organization?
Faber: I've always been a fan of Kimbo. I don't think he's the best fighter in the world but he's making an honest effort to get better and he has the right attitude. And people know who he is. I'd say anyone that brings positive attention to the sport, I don't know if he should be the main guy on a card, but he's a guy that appreciates our sport so I'm all for Kimbo. There's another side to Brock that a lot of people don't understand. He was No. 1 in the nation when he wrestled. The guy has put in his time. He's beating guys up and I respect that.
Vera: I didn't like Kimbo or Brock when they first came into the sport. I had a tall glass of Haterade. But this is a business and I like what they're doing with themselves. At first, they didn't know anything about MMA except you put small gloves on and you can punch people in the face. Now they're training. They're trying to get better and treating this like a professional sport. They're not just showing up on fight night and swinging their arms around. So, I respect them.