SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Urijah Faber may have spent the past few years in retirement, but he hasn’t lost a beat.
Faber, a former World Extreme Cagefighting champion, signaled his return to mixed martial arts on Saturday night with the fastest KO of his career.
Pitted against Pendleton native Ricky Simon, Faber dropped his opponent in just 46 seconds at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento during the UFC Fight Night 155.
It was Simon’s second fight of the year, and his career’s second loss. His first came via submission against Anderson dos Santos at the Titan Fighting Championships 37 event on March 4, 2016. Saturday night’s defeat broke an eight-fight winning streak.
Faber, 40, initially retired from MMA in December 2016, following his defeat of Brad Pickett in the Golden 1 Center. Simon, 26, entered the octagon as the No. 15-ranked contestant in the bantamweight division.
Simon started strong, stunning Faber early on and backing him against the cage within the first 30 seconds of the bout. Simon landed a heavy kick to Faber’s left leg before things quickly took a turn.
Faber seized an opportunity and delivered a swift right hook to Simon’s face, dropping him to the floor. Faber leapt on Simon and barraged him with several more punches before referee Mike Beltran intervened to call off the fight before the first minute had even passed.
Simon landed four of his eight attempted blows — two to Faber’s head and two to the legs. Faber was more generous with his strength, landing 11 out of his 15 total strikes. Nine met Simon in the head.
The knockout was Faber’s first in over a decade. The UFC hall-of-famer’s previous KO came in a first-round victory against Joe Pearson at WEC 25 in 2007.
Faber’s record-setting KO earned him a “Performance of the Night” bonus payout of $50,000. But the bonus was just the cherry on top of his $340,000 check that he earned for the victory over Simon.
After Saturday’s fight, Faber stands with a 35-10 career record, while Simon’s fell to 15-2.