UFC veteran Cruz-in into battle

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:05 AM ET

The original fight took a minute and 38 seconds.

The ensuing verbal sparring has dragged on for years.

On Saturday, both Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will look to put an end to the trash talking once and for all.

It was March 24, 2007 when both men met at World Extreme Cagefighting 26 to battle for Faber’s featherweight belt.

At the time, Cruz was an unknown making his WEC debut against the promotion’s most popular fighter.

Upset that his picture had been left off the fight poster, Cruz decided to sign his name over Faber’s face during the autograph session of posters for charities and fans.

That didn’t sit well with Faber, and from that moment, the two men have taken every opportunity to seed the bad blood between them.

“I’m not real fond of Faber,” says Cruz, who comes into the fight as the UFC bantamweight champ with a pro record of 17-1.

His only loss, however, came against the man he will be facing Saturday when he headlines UFC 132 from Las Vegas.

But Cruz is quick to point out he’s a far different fighter than the man who lost the first-round tilt to Faber by guillotine choke.

“The only thing different about Urijah is his haircut and his years,” says Cruz, who hasn’t lost a fight in his last eight outings.

“Everything is different for me, my striking, my kicks. He’ll be fighting a whole different person.”

Faber says he expects his speed to carry him to victory.

“I’ve been working with a whole new training system,” says the Californian, who boasts a 25-4 record.

“My hands have improved. I’m smaller and faster and at my more natural competition weight. I feel like I’m in the prime of my life. You’re looking at a guy that’s never been better in my eight-year career.”

Faber says he’s not worried that his last two title shots have ended in losses.

“I don’t really fret about that kind of stuff,” says Faber.

“My lifestyle, my demeanour — it’s just like I’m really enjoying what I do all the time. I’ve had 29 fights and I think 21 of them was some sort of title shot. People always seem to be asking me about what it’s like to fight in a title fight. I’ve lost to four people in my career and they were all bigger than me or considered the best at that point in time. I don’t sweat about that sort of thing.”

Faber says he’s unsure that the feud between the two will be put to rest after Saturday’s fight. “The last time we fought, we didn’t settle anything,” says Faber.

UFC 132, which also features a middleweight fight between Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva and Chris “The Crippler” Leben and a light-heavyweight tilt between Tito Ortiz and Ryan Bader, is available in Canada on pay-per-view.


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