The Philippine Mixed Martial Arts scene will never be the same again after the 16th of May. Probably the biggest MMA organization in the world, with over 150 countries broadcasting their events in over 22 different languages, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will hold the first UFC event on Philippine soil this year.
In the midst of all the UFC Manila buzz that led to a busy schedule, Urijah Faber, one of the fighters headlining the fight card, was able to grant Tiebreaker Times an interview during an open workout. We caught up with him on the 12th of March after he conducted a wrestling seminar in Safehouse MMA Gym, along Quezon Avenue, and he was kind enough to answer some questions for us.
Dean Roxas (DR): What do you think of Frankie Edgar as an opponent? This superfight has long been brewing since he moved down to Featherweight, and it was only a matter of time before you two would meet. Your thoughts that it’s finally happening?
Faber: You know I feel like we’re really similar in a lot of ways, but different in a lot of ways also. I know that boxing is one of his primary things to do when standing, while he uses his takedowns to help score points. Curious to know who’s gonna be faster, or who’s gonna be stronger when you get in there because we’re relatively the same size, but he’s a little bit bigger than I am. I feel like my finish rate is higher than his. We both have power, we both have submissions, we both have wrestling, but it’s gonna come down to the matchup, and I’m excited for that test to figure it out once we get in there.
DR: Do you think the Philippines is ready for an event this big? Is that why the UFC finally decided to hold an event here?
Faber: I know for a fact the Philippines is ready. I’ve been here, and it’s my 2nd time [here], and the awareness of the sport and the knowledge of the sport is there. There’s a lot of excitement, they have a national channel that is constantly playing the fights so people understand it, and I think it’s just about time.
DR: Congrats on your gym Team Alphamale by the way which was named “Gym of the Year” by Combatpress.com. What direction do you want to take with this? Take it further especially this coming year with TJ’s title defense and all?
Faber: Thank you! Yeah, we wanna get multiple champions in different weight divisions. We want to start building our heavyweights as well. We got a kid who’s coming in, who I feel will be the next 170-pound champion, Coby Covington, and it’s just getting started, so this is the beginning of a long tradition that’s been going on for 11 years now. We’re gonna go on for a lot more.
DR: We know you have a tight schedule so we have to cut this short, thank you and good luck on your fight!
Faber: Thanks guys!
UFC Fight Night: Manila will feature a long-awaited superfight between two fighters, who have been at the top of their respective weight classes for several years. Former World Extreme Combat (WEC) Featherweight Champion, Faber will go head-to-head against former UFC Lightweight Kingpin, Frankie Edgar, in a highly-contested Featherweight bout, which will serve as the main event of the card. This particular event will showcase six hometown heroes participating in the event including UFC Middleweight Veteran, Mark Muñoz, who is fighting on his native soil for the first and last time, stating that this will be his retirement fight. Homegrown heroes from Team Lakay, Roldan Sangcha-An and Mark Eddiva are also on the card representing flag and country.