Team California Love is petitioning for Urijah Faber to get another rematch with Renan Barao, and while the request may not be immediately granted, a trilogy could happen sooner rather than later.
Not only did the event break the record for most decisions on a UFC fight card, but the bantamweight title bout between Barao and Faber was marred by a “premature” stoppage by referee Herb Dean.
After being hurt in several stand-up exchanges, Faber was sent face first into the canvas after absorbing a thunderous overhand right to the temple. The former WEC champion found himself trapped in a belly-down position underneath Barao on the ground.
Dean warned Faber to intelligently defend himself, as Barao went to work with multiple hammerfists. Despite being stuck in a bad position, Faber did a great job of using his free hand to shield his head and face. Meanwhile, he utilized the other hand to issue a thumbs-up sign to the ref to let the fight continue.
Dean, who stood on the opposite side of Faber’s thumb, wasn’t in position to see the sign and made the decision to halt the fight at 3:42 of the first round.
“You've heard me up here a million times talk about Herb Dean—I think he's the best referee in the business,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “He rarely ever makes mistakes, but he made a mistake tonight.”
While White wasn’t prepared to entertain the idea of a rematch, it’s ludicrous to believe the book is forever closed on the Barao and Faber chapter. MMA fans tend to be accepting of rematches following controversial endings. There are plenty of angles to spin for a possible third bout.
According to Faber at the post-fight presser, he tore his hamstring and bruised his patella eight days into his three-week training camp. This tidbit of information, along with the controversial ending, is more than enough to garner some level of interest for at least a UFC on Fox card.
With Dominick Cruz still sidelined, the bantamweight division’s list of contenders for Barao's title isn’t that exciting. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if Faber is right back in the mix after one or two fights.
Barao has clearly established himself as the best bantamweight fighter in the world, but he is also the victim of mere circumstance. Faber is the most popular fighter in the division, and he is head-and-shoulders above all the rest but Barao and Cruz.
So many great fighters have come and gone over the years who never received a UFC title shot. Faber has had three in less than three years.
If Cruz has another setback, Faber’s fourth shot could be right around the corner.