“I love doing this, there is nothing like it in the world, but I am ready to move forward and do big things.”

At UFC on Fox 22, UFC fans witnessed Urijah Faber turn the clock back one more time against Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett. The retirement ending was poignant, causing fighters and fans alike to reflect upon the career of the ‘California Kid’.

Faber’s personality can be described as being larger than life, with a cutting edge charisma. To be considered a “pioneer” in the MMA stratosphere, there are certain factors to be considered: A fighter has to be scintillating inside the cage, eager to work with the MMA media, imprudent of the performance, and have an aptitude for business – as a cage fighter’s life span is very short. Faber had the fight game on lockdown.

Before the hands of time started moving in on his career, Faber built one of the first major gyms dedicated to bringing the sport of MMA to his hometown of Sacramento. A move to build a gym by a fighter at this time period was ahead of the trend. Team Alpha Male was christened and brought with it a steady stream of current UFC stars. At the end of June 2016, he made an announcement that he had just signed a lease for a new gym and is awaiting sponsors to come on board. The entrepreneurial talent was evident, spearheading business opportunities as they came.

Faber fought under two promotional banners, WEC and UFC. He was a featherweight champion in the WEC, defending his belt over five bouts – one of which was against future No.3 ranked pound-for-pound fighter, Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz. A technical battle would ensue between the two fighters, ending with a rubber match at UFC 199. MMA fans will never forget the encounter with Mike Brown at WEC 41 where Faber broke both hands, mustering the mental strength to throw strikes instead with his elbows over a five round contest.

As the stars were aligning in the sky, Faber helped popularize lighter weight divisions, this brought mainstream attention to this division when it was in its infancy at the UFC.

Surely not winning UFC gold would sully his career and his hall of fame admittance form?

I do not think this is a suitable testimony to Faber’s career, he never lost to a fighter that would be considered a journeyman, a known characteristic that a fighter has past his twilight years. Moreover, he lost to the best of the best in his chosen weight classes (featherweight and bantamweight) but was never outclassed and showed tremendous heart. Faber’s fighting style has always been high intensity and high volume of striking and grappling. His final fight against Pickett on Saturday night was reminiscent of his old WEC days, and it is fair comment to suggest this is where fans saw the best of Faber under this promotional banner.

His retirement fight was the 44th in his career and fans can argue his career trajectory took place in the moments after UFC 199. Reviewing the performance as a whole, his jaw was proving to be a weak spot in his armour. Knocking down Faber was no mean feat and Cruz took the fight away from him, but his extraordinary gas tank kept him going over the course of five rounds, in what would be his third attempt at trying to obtain UFC gold, he failed.

The writing was on the wall.

Leaving Sacramento, the torch bearing for Team Alpha Male has now transitioned to up-and-coming UFC stars Cody Garbrandt and Paige Van Zant. Garbrandt will be facing a familiar adversary of the camp in Dominick Cruz at UFC 207. If he beats Cruz, not only will it tie up a successful end to 2017 for the camp, he will also be a candidate for Fighter of the Year. From there, it would set-up a huge matchup against former prodigy of the Alpha Male camp, T.J Dillashaw. A fight that would bring a whirlwind of hostility and become the hottest ticket in town.

The farewell in Sacramento will have brought closure to Faber, allowing him to successfully transition into pastures new, overall he truly deserves a plaque in the UFC hall of fame.