Monday 23 April 2018

‘Conor McGregor is good for the sport but I’m picking Jose Aldo’ - Urijah Faber talks TUF 22 and UFC 194

Fergus Ryan

Fergus Ryan

We spoke to Urijah Faber about coaching alongside Conor McGregor and how he thinks McGregor v Jose Aldo will go at UFC 194.

The latest series of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) debuts tonight with lots of Irish interest. In addition to SBGi's Artem Lobov competing in the tournament, Team Europe will be coached by none other than 'The Notorious' Conor McGregor, while the American squad will be under the tutelage of Urijah Faber.

You can say what you like about the brash talking, hard punching Crumlin native but you have to admire his work ethic. On top of a rigorous training regime that wins him world titles he maintains a hectic media schedule that would require extra hours in the work day for most people.

By the time he lifted UFC gold in July he had already signed up to coach Team Europe in the 22nd series of the UFC's reality show. With shooting just finished he will have only a brief window of time to relax before training begins in earnest for his unification title fight with Jose Aldo in December at UFC 194.

McGregor was originally pencilled in to coach alongside Chad Mendes. But after Jose Aldo was ruled out of UFC 189, Chad stepped up to fight Conor allowing Faber to step up and coach on TUF 22.

Despite there a spark between Conor and Urijah there is incredible respect between the two. Both have said recently they enjoyed the filming and had some fun in the process.

Faber told us “He is a bit of an egomaniac… but we did have fun… we had some good back and forth and we almost got in some physical confrontations… He’s very good as a fighter… is he the best in the world?… that remains to be seen. He very well could be but we’re gonna find out.”

While Faber stopped short of jumping on the McGregor bandwagon he did admit that The Notorious has brought a lot of extra eyes to the UFC and MMA – “He’s good for the sport… rising water lifts all boats.”

Faber also believes that Jose Aldo is a good match up for Conor and predicted the Brazilian would remain the featherweight champion in December “He (Conor) is less well rounded... If Aldo uses the entire MMA game I think he has the advantage… I’m picking Aldo.”

The Ultimate Fighter was created in 2005 and has launched the careers of UFC champions like Rashad Evans and TJ Dillashaw. Northern Ireland’s Norman Parke won Conor's team mate Cathal Pendred used TUF 18 to spring board his own career into the UFC.

The show will feature will showcase 32 fighters from 11 different countries competing for one of 16 spots featuring eight Europeans and eight Americans. The 12 episodes airing Thursday mornings in the UK and Ireland on BT Sport (part of the Setanta pack in Ireland), and repeated on Thursday evenings. Each episode’s winner will advance in the single-elimination tournament, leading to the season finale card on December 11th in Las Vegas, the night before UFC 194. The premiere episode, debuting on September 10th at 3am BST (repeated September 10 at 10pm BST) on BT Sport.

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor
Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor are not friends
Conor McGregor (on left) in action last year against Dustin Poirier in Nevada

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