UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz will defend his title against long-standing rival and former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber at UFC 199.
This weekend’s event in California will see the pair match up for the third time, with both fighters claiming one victory each.
Cruz didn’t fight from September 2014 to January 2016 due to a range of injury troubles, but he returned in emphatic style to win his bantamweight title by split decision over T.J. Dillashaw.
The rivalry between Cruz and Faber goes all the way back to March 2007 when they fought for the WEC featherweight title, when Faber forced the much less experienced Cruz to submit.
That remains the only loss Cruz has suffered (21-1, 7 Kos) and Faber said after that he would not have released the choke hold if they weren’t fighting in an MMA arena.
The inevitable rematch didn’t come around for another four years, by which time Cruz had moved from the WEC to become the best bantamweight in the world with the UFC.
In July 2011, Cruz gained revenge for the defeat at UFC 132, with a unanimous decision win over his arch rival.
However, Faber strongly disputed the decision, insisting that he comfortably won the fight before demanding a rematch.
Now, nearly five years on, the trilogy is set to be complete after a series of failed attempts to get the fight back on.
On his chances of keeping hold of his title, Cruz is highly confident that he will be victorious this weekend, commenting that his strong dislike of Faber will spur him on to a resounding victory.
However, Faber, the massive underdog with the bookies who give him a 4/1 shot, has a sustained belief that he has beaten Cruz twice already in his eyes and that Cruz is not untouchable in the lightweight division as many experts have argued.