It might be hard for a fighter to sport a nickname like "The California Kid" when he's 37 and a veteran of 43 professional fights, but for the final time on Saturday, Urijah Faber will flash his youthful smile as he makes the walk to the Octagon in front of his partisan home crowd.
Faber (33-10) will cap a 13-year MMA career when he faces fellow veteran Brad Pickett (25-12) in a three-round bantamweight bout at UFC Fight Night in Sacramento, California.
"It's kind of a weird thing to think this would be the last one, but I like being able to finish when I have my wits about me and have my body intact," Faber told ESPN's Brett Okamoto during a recent visit to training camp in Sacramento. "The fights haven't been bringing as much of a rise and a fall of emotion as they have in the past. Not meaning I don't enjoy it, but it's just different for me, so I think that's kind of an indicator."
Faber, a former WEC featherweight champion, made five title defenses between 2006 and 2008. He went on to challenge unsuccessfully for WEC and UFC on five more occasions, building a legacy along the way as a fan-friendly fighter, including a trilogy with current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
"[My legacy] is bringing a great attitude into the cage, being creative when I fight [and] being willing to fight anybody at any time," Faber said. "In the lighter weights I was one of the first guys to be in the limelight."
Faber enters Saturday's bout having lost three of his last four, including a unanimous decision loss to Cruz in June. His loss to Jimmie Rivera in September marked the first time in his career that he lost consecutive fights. Pickett, 38, enters having lost four of his last five bouts.
One thing Faber guarantees is that his career finale with Pickett will be an "action-packed fight" and "something that's meaningful to go out with." He said he'll also enjoy getting one more chance to play the role of rock star, which includes walking out to his iconic entrance song, "California Love."
"When people think about dreaming big, the closest you can come to being a rock star is having a walk through a hall where everybody is looking at you or screaming at you, waiting on your every single move," Faber said. "That's something that will definitely be missed or at least just gone. So I'll miss that."