UFC 157’s Ivan Menjivar On “Dangerous” Urijah Faber: “For Me He’s Just Another Fighter…Everybody Can Lose”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After Ivan Menjivar tapped out Azamat Gashimov at UFC 154 in November and extended his UFC record to 4-1, it appeared all but certain that the Tristar fighter would fight one of the promotion’s top ranked bantamweights next. Other than a unanimous decision setback versus Mike Easton last July, Menjivar has impressed since returning to the Octagon in 2011, and will fight perennial contender and former WEC champ Urijah Faber Saturday as a result.
“I was just thinking ‘let’s do it,’” Menjivar revealed during a recent interview with Full Contact Fighter Radio, when asked for his reaction that he would fight the highly regarded Faber at UFC 157, February 23rd. “Right now in the UFC all the guys at 135 are good and it’s part of the sport. We’re all trying to get more wins to have a better position to fight for the belt.”
Although Faber has gone 3-2 in his last 5 fights, both of the 33 year-old-fighter’s defeats during that run came in championship fights. At UFC 132 in July, 2011, Faber lost by UD to current champion Dominick Cruz, and then last summer at UFC 149, the Team Alpha Male vet lost by unanimous decision to Renan “Barao”, in a fight that determined the promotion’s interim champion.
Despite Faber’s accomplishments and reputation, and Menjivar’s recent run, the latter does not believe a memorable win over the American will secure him a title shot.
“I don’t think so,” said Menjivar, when asked if a win over Faber this weekend could position him for a championship fight. “I’m just maybe in the top ten, twelve, and many guys are before me like (Michael) McDonald. So many other guys.”
Menjivar should be rather familiar with what Faber brings to the table, not only because he’s a veteran like himself, but because the two fought once before in 2006. Menjivar was disqualified from the bout, which took place under the now defunct TKO banner, for utilizing an illegal kick to a downed opponent.
“For me he’s just another fighter,” said Menjivar, when asked to assess the abilities of Faber. “He has his career; I have mine. I don’t say I don’t think he’s dangerous; these days everybody is dangerous, everybody can win, everybody can lose. So right now I just try to get ready, get prepared, enjoy being in the moment.”
It will be interesting to see how the Menjivar, Faber bout plays out, and in particular, whether the accomplished wrestler elects to stand and trade with the 30 year-old Menjivar or attempts to take him down.
“I don’t know,” said Menjivar, when asked if he believes Faber may look to take the fight to the mat. “I’m going to try to do my game. My game is to go there and try to control, dominate, play in positions.”
“People know I’m not a bad striker, my wrestling’s not too bad, my jiu-jitsu’s not too bad, so I’m feeling comfortable in all the positions,” “The Pride of El Salvador” furthered. “That’s the important thing in MMA. Don’t make errors, that’s very important and try to make him make more errors. To have control of the fight. If I see a submission I’ll go for it anytime. That’s part of the game.”
As usual, Menjivar has prepared for the bout out of the renowned Tristar gym in Montreal, which has evolved alongside the veteran has his lengthy career continues to unfold.
“The level has changed because so many guys with the talent, and so many guys are in shape, so the level is high, that’s a good thing,” said Menjivar. “Another thing though is that it’s still the same. Young guys come there to train, have fun, and to learn, and to enjoy it…I wish the gym continues to grow up like that. One day when I retire I’m going to stay at the gym and help the young guys.”
UFC 157 will be hosted by Anaheim’s Honda Center and will feature women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey versus Liz Carmouche in the main event.