MANILA, Philippines – “California Kid” Urijah Faber is relishing his stay in the Philippines, where he is holding a 10-day tour to meet local mixed martial arts (MMA) fans.
“The food’s been awesome and everyone’s so cool,” said the former WEC featherweight champion during his visit at the ABS-CBN compound.
“I was pleasantly surprised that everyone here speaks such great English. I’ve been in places where it’s hard to communicate and this place is pretty nice, I could talk some more,” he added.
The 34-year-old will be visiting various SM Malls in the country beginning with SM Cebu on Thursday. He will make his way to SM Manila, SM Sta. Rosa, SM Dasmarinas, SM BF Paranaque and SM Fairview for his final stop in the country.
Along with his mall tours, Faber will be in Angeles City, Pampanga for “Fight Club” and will conduct a seminar at the Ultimate Fitness Gym in Metrowalk.
Faber said he is connected to the Philippines through his friend Filipino-American Mark Muñoz. In fact, he said he was the one who convinced the “Filipino Wrecking Machine” to try MMA.
“My first fight was in 2003, and Mark Munoz was in my corner. We both coached in UC-Davis (University of California). He was an incredible wrestler in college also… For about three years I’ve been talking, trying him to get involved in the sport. His wife wouldn’t let him. Eventually, he took a stand and tried it out and ever looked back,” said Faber.
Faber has an impressive record as a college wrestler in UC-Davis, where he won 91 matches, and finished in the top 12 at the 2002 NCAA Division I National Championship.
He grew up watching martial arts movies, MMA fights and boxing and these inspired him to enter the world of MMA.
“I watched the first UFC when I was a kid and I watched a lot of boxing, wrestling. All my favorite movies were contact sports, karate movies, Bruce Lee, all the big guys Chuck Norris, [Jean Claude] Van Damme. In boxing, I was a big fan of Roy Jones Jr., Tommy Morrison and Mike Tyson, these are the guys I watched a lot,” said Faber.
He also has a piece of advice to Filipinos who aspire to become MMA fighter.
“You got to understand that it takes time, you gotta be consistent. There’s a lot to learn, you can look on YouTube and watch the fights, but actually getting in there to train and learn the moves is something that you can’t overlook,” said Faber.