No one ever seems to stay retired in the sport of mixed martial arts but UFC veteran Urijah Faber seemed to be one fighter who could comfortably walk away when he did.
The UFC Hall of Famer was able to finish his career on a win over Brad Pickett in his hometown of Sacramento back in 2016 and with financial investments in businesses away from fighting it appeared Faber would settle into retirement without any regrets.
Less than three years later, Faber is set to return to action at another UFC card in Sacramento this weekend as he takes on bantamweight prospect Ricky Simon in the co-main event.
Faber is now 40 years old and age is the one opponent that no fighter has ever been able too truly defeat but one of his closest teammates believes “The California Kid” is more than ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead for him as he returns from retirement.
“He’s definitely ready,” Josh Emmett told MMA Fighting ahead of his own fight on the same card as Faber. “He just has that heart of a fighter, the will to win. I feel like we have some of the same attributes. He’s somebody who has experience. He will fight. He accepts that you’re going to get fatigued in a fight and if he’s hurt or injured, that guy will fight until the bitter end. He’s done that his whole career.
“He hasn’t really skipped a beat. Two and a half years later, he feels just as sharp as he did before that [Brad] Pickett fight.”
Emmett was also training alongside Faber ahead of that fight where he defeated Pickett by unanimous decision after previously announcing that it would be his final appearance before calling it a career.
While Faber may be a few years older now, Emmett says that he’s never really stopped training alongside the rest of the fighters competing out of Team Alpha Male while living a lifestyle that would have allowed him to return at any time he saw fit.
“He’s coming out of retirement but the guy is always in the gym,” Emmett explained. “He eats healthy, he’s in great shape even though he just turned 40 years old. He works out more than some of the pros so he’s been training hard. It’s awesome I get to share this again with him.”
Of course it’s impossible to ignore that the success rate for fighters coming out of retirement after several years away hasn’t been great in the past but Emmett promises if anybody can defy the odds, it’s definitely Faber.
“You go back to hearing what people are saying [about coming out of retirement], he’s going to do just fine,” Emmett said. “He has so much experience. I’ll take experience all day over anyone.”