Urijah Faber trains for his bout at UFC 139. Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Credit: Dave Mandel

The “California Kid” always seems to come so close, yet so far away at the same time when it matters most. UFC bantamweight contender Urijah Faber has everything a high school nerd could possibly ask for and more: popularity, great hair, hot chicks that dig him, and the uncanny ability to avoid getting stuffed in a suffocating locker.

That last part rings a measure of plausible and palpable truth because of the “California Kid’s” incredible knockout power and submission prowess. Bully’s beware and hide your own lunch money, because he might just take yours. Coming off three straight wins this year alone over Ivan Menjivar, Scott Jorgensen, and Iuri Alcantara, Faber went into Saturday night with the intent to crush, kill, and destroy anyone who got in his way.

Unfortunately for Michael McDonald, he was merely a pawn on the chess table and got crowned in devastating fashion. Faber rocked “Mayday” with a barrage of shots that eventually dropped him to the ground and secured the guillotine choke.

Another Faber winning streak is on the horizon and of course, he wants a crack at the belt but please stop us if you’ve heard this story before. After finishing Rafael Assuncao via rear naked choke in the WEC, Faber was granted a featherweight title shot against Jose Aldo in which he lost a unanimous decision.

Then after bouncing back on a two-fight win streak (one of which including a win over eventual UFC contender Eddie Wineland), rival Dominic Cruz out pointed him on all three judges’ scorecards. Faber came up short in yet another championship bid, this time 10 pounds lighter for the bantamweight strap.

Finally, after submitting Brian Bowles via another rear-naked choke, the Sacramento native once again found himself in the championship fold and even landed himself a coaching spot on The Ultimate Fighter opposite Cruz. However, “The Dominator” pulled out of the fight at the last minute with a torn ACL and Dana White inserted Renan Barao as his replacement.

Monday afternoon on MMAjunkie Radio appearance, Faber admitted that he lost a lot of money in a potential rematch with Cruz, possibly a $1 million payday in favor of a $50,000 because of the injury. Barao ended up getting the better of the exchanges on foot and on the ground and became the interim UFC Bantamweight Champion.

This all leads us to the main point: how is a championship contender who’s able to string together so many incredible winning streaks and very exciting stoppages in the process, always seem to fall short when it matters most? Perhaps no one but Faber can truly answer that question but then again, maybe Cruz and Barao both have the answer and it lies within their fists and takedowns.

Faber admitted that he’ll be willing to wait for the winner of February’s title tilt, but this is the same guy who fought more than anyone else in 2013. I can’t possibly see how he’ll be able to sit out until late 2014 for his next bout.

We’re talking about a title fight that might not even take place until November of next year, October at the earliest. Not only is time of the essence but the argument of skill level and adjustments must come into play. How will Faber adjust and fine tune his game to avoid the same result against Cruz and Barao in those respective matchups?

Believe it or not, the fans seem to see a much hungrier Faber chasing after the title as opposed to when he actually gets there. It seems like the case all the time, so much so that he could go by Urijah Favored: a testament to his indirect and accidental preference and quest in pursuit of the title with other contenders who always seem to fall short of their championship goals.

The prospects for exciting fights for Faber are never scarce with three impressive submission stoppages in his last four contests. Having said that, while listening to the radio show yesterday, I came to the conclusion that the west coast-based fighter could possibly be UFC President Dana White‘s worst nightmare: great fighter who cleans out an entire division to the crowd’s delight but can never seem to get over the title hump.

Whatever or whoever’s next for Faber remains to be seen, but if history serves any purpose then down the line, we may be referring to him as the greatest fighter to never be champion.