Despite a stellar career record, former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber (22-3 MMA, 7-2 WEC) undoubtedly feels like he's got a score to settle with Mike Brown.
Two losses in less than a year will do that to you.
But if "The California Kid" is able to claim a victory over Raphael Assuncao (14-1 MMA, 2-0 WEC) at WEC 46 in January, Faber isn't hoping for another crack at Brown. Faber wants his title back.
"I'm just excited to get back in the cage," Faber recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio
). "I don't want to look past Raphael Assuncao because he's one of the top fighters in the world in my weight class. He throws down, and I'm focused on him right now. [But] a title shot right after that would be nice."
The winner of the Jan. 10 co-feature between Faber and Assuncao has been discussed as a potential opponent for current WEC champ Jose Aldo. While Manvel Gamburyan recently made a claim for that slot with a unanimous-decision win over Leonard Garcia, Faber believes he and Assuncao may be more deserving.
"If you look at the world rankings, they've had me at No. 2 this whole time," Faber said. "I think Raphael is in the top 10, for sure, depending on the rankings. I don't know who else would be in line for a contender shot.
"[Gamburyan] is 2-0. You could say him, I guess. But what it really comes down to is I've got to just keep winning."
Aldo has earned six-straight wins in the WEC and looked nearly unbeatable with his second-round TKO of Brown. However, Faber believes he provides a tougher test for the new champ.
"Aldo is a lot faster than 99 percent of the people that he faces," Faber said. "He's got incredible standup, and he's a black belt in jiu-jitsu. I'd say we'd be pretty comparable in speed. He may have a slight edge on the standup, depending on what you're looking at, I guess. My wrestling is a lot better than his, and then it will come down to conditioning and who has the best fight."
And as Faber showed in his five-round rematch with Brown, he's prepared to go for 25 minutes, even with a pair of injured hands. Faber believes it's that intensity that would make for a exciting bout with Aldo.
"I'm a gamer," Faber said. "[Aldo and I] are both really creative. We're both kind of wild, and I think it would be a fireworks show.
"We'll go for broke. There's no doubt in my mind that we'll both be going for the kill. I don't think he'll be able to sit real still like he did against Brown. Brown's a slower guy, so he just kind of stood there and picked his shots. For me, it's going to be crossfire."
Faber can't let himself focus too much on future possibilities, and Assuncao will provide a stern test. But should the 30-year-old pass the trial, he hopes Aldo's waiting on the other side.
"There's no secret that I want the belt," Faber said. "That's what I'm in this game for, is to be the best.
"I feel like I'm going to be in this sport for another five to eight years competing at my best. I know I'm going to fight Brown again, maybe once, maybe twice, who knows. I want to get that belt."