Recently knocked off his featherweight perch by Mike Brown, Urijah Faber will make a quick turn and get right back in the cage on Jan. 25 at WEC 38. A little more surprising, however, may be whom he will be facing. Sources close to the bout tell MMAWeekly.com that Faber will rematch Jens Pulver at the San Diego event.
Although bout agreements have yet to be signed, sources indicate that both sides have verbally agreed to the rematch. Faber bested Pulver in a five-round war in their original outing on June 1 in Sacramento, Calif.
As mentioned, Faber is coming off of a knockout loss to current WEC featherweight champion Brown. The defeat was his first as a featherweight and only the second of his career. Faber's first defeat was a lightweight bout against current UFC contender Tyson Griffin. He is still ranked No. 2 in the world as a featherweight.
Pulver is also coming off of a loss. At the same WEC 36 event in Hollywood, Fla., where Faber lost his title, Pulver lost his bid to return to contention. Greg Jackson-trained fighter Leonard Garcia -- now the likely No. 1 contender to Brown -- TKO'd Pulver in the opening round.
Faber and Pulver's first bout was World Extreme Cagefighting's most successful event to date. WEC 34 drew 12,001 fans and recorded gate receipts of $738,855, according to the California State Athletic Commission.
That was in Faber's hometown of Sacramento, but moving south to San Diego likely won't have much of a negative effect, as Faber is an extremely popular fighter throughout California. The pair's first bout was also considered one of the WEC's -- if not MMA's -- most exciting of the year.
Early speculation had paired Faber with rising featherweight talent Jose Aldo at WEC 38, but negotiations for that fight apparently fell apart in recent days.
Although MMAWeekly.com sources say that the fight between Faber and Pulver is all but signed, management for neither fighter would confirm the bout when contacted for comment at the time of publication.