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  • Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    In addition to serving school lunches, mixed martial arts fighter Urijah Faber encouraged students to make the right choices in nutrition – and in their friends.

  • Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Urijah Faber autographs Angelin Yang's lunch container and Eboni Bright waits her turn Wednesday as he visits Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento.

Faber to fight Menjivar for possible title shot

Published: Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Monday, Mar. 4, 2013 - 5:55 am

Urijah Faber desperately wants a rematch against Renan Barao for the Brazilian's Ultimate Fighting Championship interim bantamweight world title. But before he gets back in line after a loss to Barao last July, the Sacramentan must win a rematch against Ivan Menjivar as part of the main pay-per-view card of UFC 157 Saturday night at Anaheim's Honda Center.

Faber (26-6) defeated Menjivar (25-9) in a wild fight in Laval, Quebec, in 2006. Menjivar was disqualified after attacking Faber with a kick while Faber was considered to be down on the canvas. The win in the now-defunct World Extreme Cagefighting was Faber's third consecutive in a 13-match winning streak – an eternity in mixed martial arts – and secured Faber's spot as one of the best fighters in the sport's young history.

"We were wrapped up, and on the way down (to the canvas), we bumped heads, and that cut my eyebrow pretty good," Faber recalled. "As I landed, I tried to bounce back up, and he threw a kick that was ruled illegal, and it was declared a DQ victory."

Faber said he would rather have won on points, a knockout or a submission than a DQ. He also said he doesn't expect Saturday's fight to last the three five-minute rounds.

"The biggest difference between then and now is he's a lot smaller," Faber said. "He's fought at 170 (pounds) before and will have to get to 135, where I'm comfortable."

Faber said Menjivar is a well-rounded fighter, but Faber considers himself a much better striker than in 2006 when facing the El Salvadoran, who now lives in Canada and trains with UFC welterweight champ George St. Pierre.

Faber is 5-5 over his last 10 fights, but before anyone thinks the 33-year-old is over the hill, all five losses came in title fights.

The Faber-Menjivar fight is a preliminary to the first UFC fight featuring women. Ronda Rousey takes on Liz Carmouche for the women's bantamweight world title in the headline bout. Faber said the bout is good for the sport, and he's happy to be on the card.

"I had the first pay-per-view fight in the WEC and the first bantamweight fight ever in the UFC," Faber said. "And now I'm on the card for the first women's fight in the UFC. It's cool to be a part of history."

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Read more articles by Mark Billingsley



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