Longtime rivals Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz buried the hatchet some time ago, but on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, they also took a trip down memory lane.
To close out the show, Faber and Cruz recounted their most memorable moments from the days they spent as enemies. Cruz began by remembering how he had to inform Faber that he had to pull out of one of their scheduled bouts — UFC 148 on the big-money Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 2 pay-per-view — due to injury.
“It was probably when we were at The Ultimate Fighter,” remembered Cruz. “I had to take him outside after a long practice that I had, and I had to sit with him in his car and tell him that I had blown my knee out.”
As Cruz remembered, “The California Kid” didn’t take the news so well.
“The look on his face was just disgust,” Cruz said. “And he was like, ‘You motherf*cker.’ He was saying things like, ‘Do you know how much we’ve got in this fight…we need to do this…I need to fight you, man!’
“I was just like, ‘My knee is blown out, there’s nothing I can do.’ We ended up making it happen again, but that was just a really real time and moment where I had to look at him and apologize. I said, ‘I’m really sorry to do this to us — not just you, to us.’”
“It was an interesting moment in time that I look at,” Cruz added. “I try to gather strength sometimes from that moment.”
Faber’s most memorable moment stemmed from an oversight from the UFC, whereby the adversaries ended up on the same three-day promotional tour.
“The UFC messed up and put us on a promotional tour together,” Faber remembered. “There was a changing of the guard with the PR people. I had a hairline fracture in my hand at the time and I thought I was going to do a quick hello to the troops. It ended up being a teambuilding thing.
“They put us in front of dead soldiers’ pictures and they were talking to us. It was two-and-a-half months before we were meant to fight and we had to spend three days together. Two of the days were focused on a grueling bonding experience. We had to go through what the military went through and at the end of it we had to save the world. It was this mock thing where we got starved and everything.”
Although Faber recalls Cruz not being able to handle the wear and tear of the tour, he did say he grew to like him — but only “for a second”.
“Cruz had his pretty little petite feet and they had to get him new shoes because he got blisters on them,” Faber remembered. “He tripped and hurt himself and I was climbing a rope trying to pretend to everyone that my hand wasn’t broken.
“That was the first time that we ever got to sit down and like each other for a second. As soon as it was over it was back to, ‘Eff you, eff you!’”