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Urijah Faber talks about the art of taking a punch

By Zach Arnold | November 16, 2010

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Steve Cofield clipped some audio from last week’s Pro MMA radio show which featured Urijah Faber. I had the show in my catalog of audio to review, so here’s a few items from that interview for you perusal.

Would winning a UFC belt mean more than a WEC belt?

“Um… you know, really if I were to break it down, no, but… on a bigger level, you know when I first started in this sport seven years ago my goal on my wall was to be a, uh, a world champ in the UFC or the WEC or in the UFC or PRIDE and PRIDE is gone. The UFC is the place to be and I’ve always wanted to have that belt, so I think, yeah, you know, deep down you know in my own head I think, yeah, I want that UFC belt. It means a lot to me but, you know, I don’t really fight because of belts. I fight because of uh… you know something that’s inside of me and something that I’m inspired by outside of material things but to have the symbolism of the UFC belt and put it next to my WEC belt and my King of the Cage belt and my Gladiator Challenge belt and everything else is going to be and my vintage vintage WEC belt that was before Zuffa, you know, it’s an exciting thing for me so I’m ready.”

Can Brock Lesnar learn to accept getting punched during MMA fights?

“I would say that I’m not sure how much it’s actually missing but he hasn’t had enough of it and that’s a ton of straight sparring. You know, when we train and our training camp is extremely high-level and really thought-out. We have a bunch of different trainers in a bunch of different areas. But, um… you know, even two and a half years ago when my head trainer Master Thong came in and started working with the team, he just kept saying, ‘Hey, no scared! You can’t be scared, you can’t be scared!’ and he would let us hit him in the face over and over again and we all thought he was crazy. I mean, he would literally have us unload on his face and he was kind of a genetic freak as it is and he’s had 200+ Muay Thai fights and boxing fights and MMA fights and stuff like that but uh… the bottom line is … getting hit is not the coolest thing to have done to you but it’s not that big of a deal and it takes a ton of sparring and some great defense and knowledge of what it’s like to get hit in order to be able to get used to it. So, I heard rumors that Lesnar wasn’t letting guys punch him in the space during sparring and I don’t know how many sparring sessions he did where he wasn’t able to use take downs but he needs to do some straight sparring. Even at this point, we spar twice a week straight boxing. We spar a couple of times a week with just kickboxing and, you know, transition that into MMA at the end of a practice or sometimes, you know, mix it all together in situations but you got to really get used to that. I mean, the worst punches are the ones you don’t see coming and if you don’t see any punches coming because you’re ducking your head that’s the worst-case scenario so I think he’s got room for improvement. I think he’s still going to be a great fighter as long as he decides to do that but he needs to get in there and accept, hey, I’m going to get hit and there’s guys that are better punching than I am and he needs to put in the time like everyone else.”

You can get comfortable with getting hit through experience even if your natural reaction is to kind of turn and run away or back away?

“Oh, 100%, you know, and we’ll been there where Lesnar was. I mean, unfortunately for him (millions are watching), it was me five years ago that was comfortable as he was and I worked on it over time and but with a great, great training camp you know I’ve got guys like TJ Dillashaw who’s been here 11 months and Chad Mendes has been here two years and Micah Ferguson who is a wrestler who is not used to getting punched, all these guys aren’t used to get punched and with the right uh… techniques and the right experience and the right nurturing environment in getting hit if there is such a thing, I mean it’s a pretty simple thing.

“I just kind of didn’t like the fact that he had so many eyes on him and had so much influence in this sport and he came off so bad for this sport after his fight with (Frank) Mir but I think he’s grown a lot and I would be willing to help him out if he was really into learning. You know I think there’s some things, just simple things that would help him out and I mean he shouldn’t be losing to guys that are 40 pounds lighter than him.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, WEC, Zach Arnold | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

5 Responses to “Urijah Faber talks about the art of taking a punch”

  1. Fluyid says:

    I’ve always been somewhat amazed that people who didn’t grow up getting hit could get used to it as an adult. I can’t imagine how tough that must be.

    • bluerosekiller says:

      Obviously, some can & do adapt well to it, but I don’t believe that this will be the case with Lesner.
      His instincts are all wrong & it’s too late in his career for him to overcome them.
      Not unless he wants to basically go back to square one & face lesser opposition for a couple of years to gain experience by putting rounds of TAKING “live rounds” in the bank.
      But, we know that’s not really an option for him.
      He’s at the sink or swim stage & has to mix with the best. Which, means having to stare across the cage at some elite level strikers.
      Which, IMO, means roughly a .500 record for him from here on out.
      And we’ll have to see how long that’s acceptable to him.
      Maybe he’ll enjoy the big paydays enough to make a longer go of it than I think. But, if I had to wager on it, I’d say he only has a couple/few more real bouts in him.
      One more KO loss & I think he’ll find an easier line of work.

  2. klown says:

    Thanks for transcribing this. It’s the kind of interview I like to read, with the insights it gives on fighters’ mentality, training and technique.

  3. EJ says:

    I still think people are reaching hard when it comes to Lesnar and his ability to take a punch. It’s close to becoming another of those countless mma myths that once people start saying often enough it almost becomes the truth.

    Brock has ways to go with his overall striking and I think goes to Xtreme Couture would help him change up his whole process on how to punish guys with his size. But the idea that Brock just runs and hides after you hit and will never go back to being champion is reaching hard. Unless Brock just refuses to change things up I expect him to be right back challenging and winning the belt in the next year or 2.


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