The UFC has announced the first member of its 2017 Hall of Fame Class: “The California Kid” Urijah Faber. The announcement came just roughly four months after the 37-year-old retired from MMA, fighting (and winning) his last bout in his home city of Sacramento. He retired with a record of 34-10 with 26 finishes.
Faber will be entering the HOF’s modern wing as a legend of the lighter weight classes responsible, in part, for why the UFC added the flyweight (125-pound) to featherweight (145-pound) divisions. He is perhaps best remembered for his days in the would-be UFC sister promotion, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) where he was featherweight champion.
Faber defended the title five times before the UFC-WEC merger in 2011. The organization was the breeding ground for a heated rivalry with Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz that was always a fan-favorite to watch and, again, helped smaller fighters prove their worth on the biggest level of the sport.
“…I was definitely surprised and honored at the same time. What a cool honor. Really, to put your heart into a sport and be recognized like that alongside people that you looked up to and watched since you were a kid, it was pretty amazing.”
There is no word yet on who will be inducting Faber at this time.
Faber is content with running his gym, Team Alpha Male, and developing young prospects like 5-0 Cynthia Calvillo (2-0 in the UFC) but said that he will continue to compete in combat as a whole from time to time.
“Well, I’m retired — that was kind of the closing of the door (on MMA),” he said on the most recent edition of MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour to host Ariel Helwani. “But no, you know me dude, I’m not huge on planning and never count out an opportunity, but I mean, I’m retired, so…closing the door? I’m doing a competition on May 14, a jiu-jitsu competition against a five-time world champ who’s still competing and stuff like that. So, I’ve still got an inch.”
May 14 will be Faber’s 38th birthday. The UFC Hall of Fame ceremony will take place at the annual UFC International Fight Week (July 5-8, 2017.)