Many differences, one goal
The classical music blasting over the phone as I waited on hold for a World Extreme Cagefighting conference call was a real disconnect.
And the swapping of compliments from one fighter to the other was another, given that they plan to annihilate each other in a cage over the weekend.
But even given all that,
"I don't see the fight going 25 minutes," said Pulver. "At 145, I've knocked everybody out except for one submission. I think I've been in the third round once at 145. At the end of the day, I'm looking to win this fight by knockout. I'm taking the belt home. Period."
Pulver (22-8-1) has an extensive, and successful, boxing background that is often overlooked in the cage. As the first Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title-holder, "Lil Evil" defended his belt twice before vacating the top spot because of contractual reasons.
With strong wins against names like
It also may have proved to Pulver that his three hours a day in the gym with grappling coach
"[Jen]'s an experienced fighter, so he knows how to fight, how to put himself in different situations," Silveira said. "And what I do is use jiu-jitsu skills that I've incorporated through my experiences and add them to his set of skills. He's already tough because of his background, but I try to make him tougher and ready to fight."
Pulver said that having won and subsequently lost a title gives him a motivational edge over his counterpart. From someone who thrives off others telling him he can't achieve something, Pulver could certainly turn his past UFC title abdication, and comeback struggles, in his favor come Sunday. Faber has never been on the other side of the fence. And, considering he's 8-0 in the division with an extra 10 bouts in his past, Pulver's also heavily flaunting the experience card in the face of the younger Faber.
But at just 29 years old, Mr. 20-1 has already successfully defended his WEC title four times -- all by submission -- and his lone defeat was way back in September 2005.
Last December, "The California Kid" submitted
"My biggest strength is just being well-rounded. I feel like I'm strong in all the categories of mixed martial arts," Faber said. "I'm always looking to learn and improve, and that's something a lot of people aren't able to do, for whatever reason. I'm always looking to improve myself from fight to fight, and that's one thing that will be an advantage for me."
At this point, the question isn't who Faber
But it's not Pulver's and Faber's lack of bad blood that holds the biggest weight in Sunday's bout. It's not their polar opposite personalities or their different backgrounds, nor their records or proclaimed experience in the cage.
No, just one thing, one similarity, holds more significance than anything else in their careers right now: that shiny featherweight-title belt. The rest is merely details.