Faber focused on the present, bout with Menjivar

Faber focused on the present, bout with Menjivar
February 22, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Sacramento’s Urijah Faber will fight Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157 on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Nitesh Dutt

With most of the talk of UFC 157 being about the main event title fight between Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche, and rightfully so, a bantamweight contender’s bout between Ivan Menjivar and Sacramento’s Urijah Faber has flown under the radar.

You won’t hear Faber complaining one bit about being out of the limelight. He understands how important Saturday night is for the UFC and MMA as a whole.

“It’s pretty cool to be a part of a historical event, I’ve done that before.” Faber said with enthusiasm when the topic of fighting on the same card as the first-ever UFC women’s fight. “I think it’s awesome to be a part of a huge show, it is a monumental one.”

Don’t expect “The California Kid” to get caught up in the hoopla of the historical main event bout. Faber is 100% focused on his opponent, Ivan Menjivar. The two met previously fought in 2006 as featherweights.

Faber won that bout after Menjivar was disqualified. Seven years later and fighting at a lighter weight class, has him feeling much different in this bout.

“I would say looking back at the fight in 2006 with Ivan Menjivar, I’m a completely different fighter,” Faber went on about how he’s matured as a fighter. “I was more desperate and eager back in the day, now I’m more focused and composed.”

The seven years has also given Menjivar time to mature and focus on his career. As Faber put it, “(Menjivar) has always been really well rounded. That’s something I looked at right in the beginning…He’s taking it a lot more seriously than he used to. The vibe I got from Menjivar back in 2006 was that he loved fighting but I don’t know if it was his main focus. I think now he’s a lot more focused on wants to meet his goals.”

With the bantamweight division currently going through an awkward time, as Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz is still sidelined with a knee injury and Interim Champion Renan Barao just defending his title for the first time, there’s a chance for someone to lay claim to the next title shot.

After a rough 2012 for all of Team Alpha Male, going a combined 0-3 in UFC title shots, 2013 looks to be even better. Flyweight Joseph Benavidez is coming off of a win, Featherweight Chad Mendes is riding a two-fight win streak into 2013 and Faber looks to get back into title contention.

But, believe it or not, that’s not where Faber’s focus lies.

“I haven’t focused on anything in that respect. My main focus is enjoying life everyday, working towards the things I want and that’s to be on top of the world. So, I don’t know if I’ll be back in contention when those two (Cruz and Barao) unify their belts, but I just want to be considered the best.”

At 33 years of age, time to be the best might be coming to an end. But, the focus of “The California Kid” is always on the now and never looking to far ahead.

Nitesh Dutt is a Productions Assistant at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt.

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