Sunday, May 31, 2009
Since the time the above punch was delivered, I've been waiting for the rematch. Now we're only one week away and I'm starting to get goosebumps.
No one - myself included - believed Mike Thomas Brown was going to beat Urijah Faber on November 5, 2008. After all, "The California Kid" had been on a three year undefeated streak, plowing through the WEC Featherweight division with devastating speed, strength and striking.
Then he got dropped. Hard. Quick. Done.
See, Mike Thomas Brown was on a three year winning streak too, having not dropped a fight since his return from Japan following a loss to Masakazu Imanari in December 2005. While the flash and showmanship wasn't there, the wins were, including a Unanimous Decision over Jeff Curran in his WEC debut which set up the bout with Faber.
Less than half way through the first round, it happened. Where you stand on the situation probably depends on whether you're a member of Team Faber or Team Brown and I'm not talking Team Alpha Male versus ATT either.
Faber fans say it was a good punch when Urijah was trying a ridiculous move; that he let his cockiness get the best of him and got caught.
The other side of that coin is that he straight up got leveled, regardless of the degree of difficulty of the move being attempted. Team Brown could even argue that it's more impressive to knock a guy stiff when he's trying something creative like a spinning back elbow than if he was standing and trading with you.
I was hoping that each of their subsequent fights would help clarify the situation for me as well, as a flat performance by one would indicate the true talents of the other, but that didn't happen.
Faber crushed Jens Pulver (again!) with a Bernard Hopkins on Oscar De La Hoya body blow before sinking in a guillotine, while Brown defended his belt for the first time in stunning fashion, clobbering Leonard Garcia into submission less than 2:00 minutes into the first round. Both looked deadly, leaving the question of "Who is the better man?" still unanswered.
Some will invoke The Ric Flair Rule - to be the man, you've got to beat the man... WOOOOO! - while others will cite Georges St-Pierre as evidence that anyone can get caught with a punch once.
A Brown win cements his place as the King of the Featherweights.
A victory for "The California Kid" puts him back on top of the mountain and sets up Faber versus Brown 3.
As a fight fan, you can't lose.