Urijah Faber ready to ‘mix it up’ with champ Henry Cejudo after UFC on ESPN+ 13

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – 10 years after a lighthearted callout was issued, Urijah Faber is ready to throw down with UFC champ Henry Cejudo for real.

After two-and-a-half years away from the octagon, Faber (35-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) returned from retirement Saturday and defeated Ricky Simon (15-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) by first-round knockout in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 13, which took place in his hometown.

Just over a month ago, Cejudo (14-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) knocked out Marlon Moraes to claim the UFC bantamweight title alongside his flyweight belt. Post-fight, he named Faber as one of the potential opponents he wanted going forward, and “The California Kid” did about everything he could to sell himself for the opportunity with a 46-second finish of Simon.

Whether the UFC opts to move Faber to the front of the title queue at 135 pounds remains to be seen, but he said he has a history with Cejudo that he would love to finally see play out inside the octagon.

“I heard Henry Cejudo challenged me to a fight,” Faber said post-fight at UFC on ESPN+ 13. “Henry, I remember 10 years ago when you challenged me as a friendly gesture. I’m down to get in there and mix it up. I do this to test myself against the best in the world. I want to take fights that make sense. I took this fight because if I didn’t beat him, I’d know I don’t need to go for super fights.”

Faber said his goal coming out of retirement was first to see how he would perform. The result was the fastest win of his UFC Hall of Fame career, which provided the 40-year-old former WEC featherweight champion with additional confidence.

Simon was a good litmus test to start things out, Faber said, and now he thinks he’s positioned himself for something big.

“When I think of doing anything it’s always with the belt and being the best in mind,” Faber said. “That’s the only thing I think about. I stepped in here and people are like, ‘Why would you take this fight this guy’s 15-1’ and all this. I’m like, ‘If I can’t beat this guy then it doesn’t matter anyway.’ That’s the way I looked at this.

“That’s why Dana (White) loves me and knows I’m one of the troopers and I’ll fight guys that don’t make sense for me and I’ve done it for my whole career and then I’ll get those big opportunities and that’s it.”

For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 13, check out the UFC Results.