Combat Sports

Combat Sports

Urijah Faber doesn't need to do this. That's not the point, though. 

Faber and his fiancée, Jaslyn Ome, had their first child, Cali, four months ago. Faber was named to the UFC Hall of Fame in April 2017. The Sacramento sports legend even won his "retirement" fight over Brad Picket by unanimous decision in December 2016. 

And yet here he is at 40 years old, back in the octagon at UFC Fight Sacramento where he will face rising prospect Ricky Simon in the bantamweight division on Saturday as the co-main event at Golden 1 Center. 

Faber told ESPN's Marc Raimondi that he caught the itch to return to MMA while training for high-profile grappling matches earlier in the year and as he sparred with Team Alpha teammates Cody Garbrandt and Chad Mendes. 

"I've been motivated over the last 2½ years," Faber said. "I've been wanting to fight some people. I had that feeling like, just you want to fight. Irritated by some stuff, motivated by other stuff. Just knowing that it's coming."

Aside from his career throwing fists and rolling on the mat, Faber is a businessman. He's involved in real estate, clothing, management, meal delivery and even CBD. Faber told ESPN he owns at least a small piece of more than 10 companies. There's no doubt, money was a motivating factor for the fight. 

"There's a lot of good things happening [in my businesses]," Faber said. "Of course, the [profit] margins in the fight game are awesome. We are prizefighters. Money is part of the motivation. You see guys making more and more money. Like dude, I'm still a game guy. If there's money on the table, let's grab some of it."

 

More than anything, "The California Kid" is a fighter. From his days at UC Davis to his MMA debut in 2003 to opening his Ultimate Fitness gym in Sacramento and establishing Team Alpha Male, Faber forever will be remembered as one of the pioneers of the sport.

He's a leader, too. 

"It's exciting to lead by example again," Faber said in an interview with UFC.com. "Come in here, throw my hat in the crowd as far as getting going in here is fun for me. It reminds me of how difficult this thing is. Even the little knicks and the bruises and little injuries and stuff like that, you have to push through it. 

"It's something that you get to show the next generation, 'Hey, this is how it's done.'" 

Team Alpha Male will have six members fighting at UFC Sacramento on Saturday, including Faber. The Hall of Famer who is 34-10-0 in his long career will face a 26-year-old with a 15-1-0 record, who even made a pit-stop at Faber's gym in college.

"I think he’s done great, great things for his gym. There’s a reason why his gym is successful. He’s doing great," Simon said to UFC.com, before getting to his main point. "I’m still going to try and knock him out on July 13." 

Faber hasn't said whether this will be his last fight or not. He could hang it up seven miles from his gym -- no matter the outcome -- and still be a legend.

One thing is certain: Urijah Faber will always be in the fight game.