RANT: UFC 132: Monica vs. Rachel. Err… Cruz vs. Faber

Anticipation is a powerful thing. The weeks leading up to a fight, as the stories come out and tensions build, can be very exciting. The closer it gets to fight day, the more interviews are given, pictures taken, articles and blog entries written. It’s a wonderful thing.

Story lines emerge. You find out that Chris Leben is not shy about saying he’s scared of getting in the cage with Wanderlei Silva. That it’s a way of testing himself. Pushing himself. That it does indeed take a few strikes before the survival instinct kicks in and he suddenly has an urgency about him.

You find out that guys don’t like each other. Maybe they’ve been rivals for years because of something one of them said, or did in a fight with a teammate. Grudges exist, and in some ways the fighters are lucky: they get to take out their grudges in the cage with their fists and feet. It’s probably much more psychologically healthy than the ways most of us deal with things.

UFC 132’s Main Event is no different. It appears that Dominick Cruz genuinely dislikes Urijah Faber. And not just because Faber beat him four years ago. Countdown to UFC 132 provided some insight.

Four years ago, when Dominick Cruz was just starting his rise to the top of the WEC, he faced Urijah Faber for the title. A young and relatively unknown fighter with little star power, Dominick was left off the poster for the event. Which motivated him to fight back against this insult, to show he meant business, to, well, mess up Urijah’s face.

You see, when they were doing pre-fight promotions, and signing lots of autographs, Cruz signed right over Faber’s face on the promo materials. Seriously. I hope it gave him some sense of satisfaction, because when the fight came, he tapped in about a minute and a half.

As Cruz tells it, Faber stopped in his doorway after the fight to let him know: That’s what you get when you write over someone’s face.

Um… OK.

Over the years, they’ve bumped into each other at events, and words were exchanged. But nothing rising above “petty” level, that I’ve been able to find.

About four months ago they were at the same promotional event. Cruz with the chip on his shoulder, scowling and talking and Faber, calm and relaxed, telling Cruz he should chill, enjoy having the belt, before Faber takes it from him in a few months. Delivered with a casual smile, of course.

Oh, Urijah, so passive-aggressive!

Cruz being the raven-haired overachiever that he is, and Faber being the sunny, pretty “California Kid,” the two really do resemble Monica and Rachel from Friends, arguing over some petty BS. Except Friends had better dialog.

It’s a good thing these guys can fight, because their pre-fight storyline is, well, silly.

For Dominick Cruz to feel so slighted for not being on the poster when he wasn’t a draw yet, and to carry that grudge for years… I mean, think about how hard these guys train. How grueling it is every single day to spend hours pushing your body to its limit. To learn and master new moves, new strikes, new evasions. If he puts that much effort into such a little thing, I’m worried for the guy who really does something nasty to him…

Thankfully, we’ll get to watch them settle the score at UFC 132. It should be a great fight, because, unlike Monica and Rachel, Cruz and Faber don’t have Phoebe to step in a stop things before they get too out of hand…

Phoebe Steps In

Phoebe won't be there to Ref UFC 132