Faber, Cruz: Best of enemies

NEIL SPRINGER, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:42 AM ET

TORONTO - UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is ready for his incoming overdose of Urijah Faber.

“I’ve had overdoses of him prior to this meeting that we’re going to have,” Cruz said over the phone. “So to me it’s just another day at the office. You hear that often, but it really is.

“Why should I have it any different than every other (person) around the world who has to work with someone they don’t like? A lot of people go to work every single day and their boss sucks. It just happens every single day and you’ve got to work for them and deal with them.

“Well Faber’s far from my boss, but I do have to work with him. So I look at it as just a challenge and a growing experience to make me a better man and learn how to deal with people I don’t like.”

The two will coach opposite one another on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter Live on FX, which kicks off Friday. The 15th season of the popular reality show features a new format where the week’s events will be recapped at the beginning of each episode and the fights themselves will air live for 13 consecutive weeks. The season finale is slated for June 1.

Canadian fans can catch TUF 15 live on FX Canada. Episodes will then be replayed later on Sportsnet.

The animosity between the top bantamweight fighters dates back to their first encounter at WEC 26 five years ago, when Faber handed Cruz the sole loss of his career. Cruz evened the score with an exciting unanimous-decision victory at UFC 132 last July. The rubber match will take place soon after TUF 15 has wrapped up.

Saying it will be just another day in the office is easy, but being face-to-face with your sworn enemy almost every day for three months is a whole different animal. Even past coaches who didn’t have a grudge going into the show, were at each others’ throats by the end.

Cruz said he already knows what to expect from Faber and is purely focused on helping the cast of lightweights become better fighters.

“It’s an awesome position that I’m in right now and a goofy-looking guy like Faber isn’t going to ruin that for me,” Cruz said.

“It’s not going to ruin my time on the show. I get to help these guys, do a job that I love to do and follow my dreams in a career that I love. I’m excited for it.”

One of the criticisms often thrown at Faber is he has a seemingly limitless number of title shots at his disposal.

He earned another crack at Cruz with an impressive submission victory over former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles at UFC 139 in November. But the coming championship fight will mark Faber’s fourth title shot since dropping the WEC featherweight belt to Mike Thomas Brown in late 2008.

Cruz said it’s no coincidence Faber keeps getting championship opportunities.

“It’s not ‘seemingly,’” Cruz began. “Everybody says it’s ‘seemingly’’ he gets a lot of title shots. It’s what it is, but nobody wants to say it. The difference is I can beat the guy up, so I’ll say it. Yes, he gets a lot of title shots for no reason.

“But it’s not necessarily for no reason. I’ll give it the fact that he did beat somebody good in that last fight. He did have a good performance and he gets the shot because he’s one of the toughest guys in the division no doubt. You can’t deny that. But it’s not ‘seemingly’ he gets a lot of title shots.

“He gets a lot of title shots because he doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut. He runs his mouth well. That’s what he does best, he runs his mouth.”

STRIKEFORCE RESULTS

Ronda Rousey def. Miesha Tate via first-round submission (armbar)

Josh Thomson def. K.J. Noons via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Kazuo Misaki def. Paul Daley via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)

Lumumba Sayers def. Scott Smith via first-round submission (guillotine choke)

Ronaldo Souza def. Bristol Marunde via third-round submission (arm-triangle choke)


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