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Urijah Faber Remains on UFC 148, Will Fight for Interim Bantamweight Title

Dominick Cruz (James Law/HeavyMMA)

Former featherweight champ stays on card despite Dominick Cruz’s injury

Urijah Faber still will be fighting for a title at UFC 148 – he just won’t be doing it against his nemesis and current champion.

When UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz fell off the July card on Monday with a torn ACL, it was unclear if Faber, who was fighting Cruz for the title in a rematch, would remain on the card or wait around for the champ to heal. But given the lengthy recovery time for Cruz’s knee injury – Georges St-Pierre suffered a similar injury last fall and is not expected to return until this November at the earliest – we now know at least part of what’s next for Faber.

Faber, the former WEC featherweight champ, will remain on the UFC 148 card in the co-main event – and he’ll be fighting for an interim bantamweight title to hold while Cruz is on the shelf. UFC president Dana White announced the news late Tuesday on “UFC Tonight” on Fuel TV. But just who Cruz’s opponent will be is still up in the air.

White said he was still searching for the right opponent, and Faber said on the show that he believed his opponent will be one of three options – Renan Barao, Ivan Menjivar or Michael McDonald. Barao and Menjivar already are booked to fight each other on the UFC 148 card, but with two months before the fight there would appear to be ample time to pull one of them to face Faber. McDonald is coming off an impressive first-round knockout of former champ Miguel Torres at UFC 145 last month in Atlanta.

UFC 148 takes place July 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Cruz-Faber title fight – their third meeting, with each having a win under his belt – was originally planned as the main event. But scheduling conflicts for the UFC 147 card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, forced the middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen to move to UFC 148 in Las Vegas as the obvious main event – bumping Cruz-Faber III to the co-main slot.

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