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Like millions of gamers worldwide, Urijah Faber grew up hooked on "Street Fighter."
Unlike millions of gamers, Faber then went on to become almost as lethal with his fists as Ken and Ryu.
If only "The California Kid" could throw a fireball. (Hadouken!)
"When I look back at all the fighting games I used to play and then I think about what I do now, it's a trip," Faber says with a laugh as I get him on the phone to talk gaming and the UFC. "I always played as Ken. Those fireballs could help me out in the Octagon."
These days, Faber is not only one of the biggest draws in the UFC, he's about to make his fighting debut in January in the "UFC Undisputed" video game franchise (Xbox 360, PS3).
Says Faber: "It's really exciting. A lot of people have been asking me about it, and I've played the game before and love it, so I'm pretty pumped to go on there and beat some people up with my own action figure, with my own likeness. I grew up playing video games, and all my favorites were fighting games like 'Street Fighter' and 'Mortal Kombat' and 'Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!' I never could've imagined that one day I'd be in a video game. It's pretty cool."
Jon Robinson: One of the coolest new things about the UFC game is they finally have entrances. What goes through your mind when you're walking down to the Octagon and are about to fight?
Urijah Faber: It's just an exciting time. It's the closest you get to being a rock star. Your hair is standing on edge and the energy is just so incredible. It's an exciting time to me.
Jon Robinson: THQ is finishing up your character right now for the new game. Do you have any advice for the creators on how you want your character to look?
Urijah Faber: I'd like to see myself smile on occasion, but I don't know if that's possible. We'll see.
Jon Robinson: You've played a lot of the previous UFC games, is there anything you hope to see improved in "UFC Undisputed 3"?
Urijah Faber: The biggest thing is to continue to make it as realistic as possible. The more realistic, the better. Adding in the Pride rules is also going to make the game a lot of fun.
|Urijah Faber makes his fighting game debut in "UFC Undisputed 3."|
Jon Robinson: Switching up to real life, I was actually at your last fight in Las Vegas, and it seemed like everyone in the crowd thought you won, but then the decision came and they gave the fight to Dominick Cruz. Did you think you won?
Urijah Faber: Yeah, I definitely thought I won. The reason I thought I won is because I knocked him down a few times in the different rounds. He was also trying to take me out and take me down a bunch, but I felt that he didn't do any damage with the takedowns, so I thought I did enough. When I heard the 45-50, I thought I won for sure because with knockdowns like that, and him not having any knockdowns, I assumed I won some of those rounds. It's hard to know with these guys. You don't know what the judges are thinking or if they even know what the hell they are doing at all. But it was a close fight. It is what it is.
Jon Robinson: So many people are still talking about that fight, are you anticipating a rematch down the road?
Urijah Faber: Yeah, definitely. The biggest thing is winning the next fight, then I'm pretty sure I'll get a rematch after that. I'm fighting Brian Bowles. He's the guy who Dominick took the belt from, so the winner of our fight will get a rematch, since we both fought him before.
Jon Robinson: Is there anything you're changing up about your training moving forward to adjust to what happened in the Cruz fight?
Urijah Faber: Yeah, I think so. I need to add some things. The biggest thing in the decision is the amount of times I hit him versus the amount of times he hit me and the attempted takedowns. That's the only thing I can really improve on. Other than that, I feel like I won. I just need to hit him more and score more points. The other side of that is doing more damage. I definitely think I did more damage in the last fight, now I need to go in and learn to score more points while still trying to finish. I just don't want to lose the edge of trying to finish a guy because I'm trying to score more points. That's the worst case scenario in my opinion.
Jon Robinson: You hit Cruz with a couple of shots where I thought it was over.
Urijah Faber: Yeah, he recovers fast, I'll give him that. It's just a testament to what great shape he is in and being mentally strong. There were some flash knockdowns, but he recovered pretty good.
Jon Robinson: I saw you on the show "Leverage." Do you see more acting in your future?
Urijah Faber: I wouldn't be against it, but my main focus right now is getting that belt. I'd be down to do some more acting in the future. I don't think acting in parts like that is that difficult, so if I can get some cash, I'd do it for sure.
Jon Robinson: Back to the game, if someone plays "UFC Undisputed 3" and it inspires them to try MMA for real, where should they start?
Urijah Faber: I would first take a look at the things that interest you the most. If a kid starts in wrestling or Jiu-Jitsu or kick boxing, it's more the mentality that will propel them further. As long as they get around good influences, a good gym and good instructors, they can start anywhere, really. I think wrestling, as a whole, has the ingredients of what it takes to be a good fighter. If someone can start in wrestling and can handle wrestling and can get good at wrestling, then they shouldn't have a problem learning the rest of the stuff.
I started out as a wrestler first, but I was also a huge boxing fan and everything fight related since I was a kid has been my passion. I was into a little bit of everything, but wrestling was my main staple.
Jon Robinson: You can't go wrong with wrestling and "Street Fighter."
Urijah Faber: [laughs] Exactly.