Faber goes out on top, winning last UFC fight

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN | Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Sporting his traditional look of cornrowed hair and movie star smile that made him one of the sport’s most popular figures, Urijah Faber proved he can still get it done in the octagon.

The California Kid also showed he has a pretty good chin, too.

Faber survived being knocked down in the third round and beat Brad Pickett by unanimous decision to win in the final fight of his career at UFC Fight Night on Saturday night.

“Sac-town, I love you guys,” Faber said as the crowd at GoldenOne Center gave him a rousing standing ovation.

The 37-year-old Faber, who announced his retirement earlier this year, repeatedly took Pickett to the mat throughout the fight and scored with crisp, hard head shots that opened a gaping cut on the Englishman’s left eye before Pickett landed a sharp straight left that put Faber down with 1:22 left in the third.

Faber (34-10) quickly got to his feet and smiled before chasing Pickett (26-13) down and trying for a final submission attempt as a raucous, near-sellout crowd at GoldenOne Center roared.

“This guy was coming for my head and I knew that,” Faber said. “It’s a great way to go out. I could very well compete for another 10 years … but I’m choosing to wrap it up and head into whatever’s next.”

Pickett, nicknamed One-Punch Pickett, never could mount much of an offense. He spent the early rounds trying to fend off Faber’s takedowns and didn’t score significantly until late in the final round.

By then, Faber had built too big of a lead.

All three judges scored the fight 30-26.

Faber had lost his previous two fights including a five-round unanimous decision loss to UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz in the third of their three classic bouts this past June.

This one went to a decision as well, though the outcome was clear — at least among the pro-Faber crowd that repeatedly chanted his name throughout the night.

Getting through the fight actually was easier for Faber than it was making his way to the ring. A video tribute including footage of some of his previous bouts were shown before the fight with Pickett, and Faber admitted he had to turn away because it made him emotional.

“I’m ready to go forward,” Faber said. “I love this sport, I love my team coming up. There’s nothing like (fighting) but I’m ready to move forward and do some big things.”