For Urijah Faber, UFC 169 was another chance to secure his place in MMA history.
However, Faber was unable to do so, falling to UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao in the main event via first round TKO.
Faber (30-7) appeared to be fine to continue, but Barao was hammering away from a strong position. Referee Herb Dean stepped in and waved off the fight.
“It is very frustrating,” Faber said. “I am one of the most durable guys in the world.
“(The referee) told me to do something, and I gave him a thumbs-up. Herb is a great referee, I just wish I would have to a better chance.”
The thumbs-up by Faber appeared to be unseen by Dean. “The California Kid” protested, but he also acknowledged Barao for the win.
“Congratulations to Barao, what a great champion,” he said.
Barao seemed to be as surprised as Faber by the stoppage, saying after “I never thought the referee could stop the fight early because Urijah looked like he could keep fighting.”
Joe Rogan asked Faber what he could have done differently, and he replied, “What am I suppose to do? I know (Dean) had the best interest at heart, and I don’t want to take anything away from Barao, but I wasn’t out and I’ll be back.”
T.J. Dillashaw, a Team Alpha Male teammate, was brought up by Faber after as a potential next challenger to Barao.
“Get T.J. Dillashaw in here to clean up my dirty work,” he said. “Give it to him.”
Dillashaw (9-2) is 6-1 in seven UFC fights, with the lone loss being a split decision “Fight of the Night” bout vs. Raphael Assuncao last year.