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Urijah Faber

The bantamweight contender spars with the latest UFC game

Fitness video games usually aren’t deep enough to replace the gym for most MF readers, and that’s a good thing. Pretending to hula-hoop is definitely not an adequate substitute for your squats and deadlifts. But UFC Personal Trainer, developed by THQ, officially licensed by the UFC and the only fitness game approved by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) might just change your mind about the genre. Featuring real trainers like Mark DellaGrotte and Greg Jackson, and real fighters like Urijah Faber, the game features 51 different legit routines and the ability to customize your own.

I got a chance to see the game in action at a preview event in NYC as demo’d by Faber, who compared it to what he does during training. “The coolest thing about this game is it’s the exactly the same as you’d do in the gym,” says Faber. After he was done firing off a blistering round of combos, I grabbed him for a few minutes to talk about the title, how he eats, and the future of the UFC.

You fight at 135 lbs. What is it about the lighter weight classes that make those fights so exciting?
There’s an athleticism that you’re not going to see at the heavier weights, just because there’s a higher density of top-level athletes in lower classes. You see a higher pace, more aggressive, and more competitive fights at 135 lbs. It’s going to be a matter of time before the lightweight fighters are the main draws, I believe. That’s the goal, and I think it’s coming here real quick, especially with me up for a title fight.

You’re known for eating super clean. What’s your philosophy on nutrition?
When it comes to remedy, taking care of sickness and things like that, you treat the body first with diet. I eat as clean as I can, but I also eat a ton of calories and a lot of fat. I’ve never been extremely strict. It’s all about the quality of the food, you know? If I’m going to have a hamburger, it’s going to be fresh ground beef, it’s going to be on a good wholesome bun, lots of vegetables on there, good ingredients. I don’t eat them very often. The thing is, it’s about being consistent, and having a lifestyle of habits that are healthy and that allows for going a little off the beaten path.

How are the next few months looking for you in terms of training?
My gym is in Sacramento, we’ve got 30+ guys from all over, some of the best guys in the world, lightweights especially. I’ll be training there, but I also have a retreat I’m doing in Northern California with 450 people. There’ll be all sorts of cross-training: sand dunes and beaches and it’s got a pier, for like surfing, a little mountain, 2500 feet elevation, rivers, and chopping wood, stuff like that. I’ve got a personal gym that I put right there on highway one.

Sounds awesome. I know you’ve got a real tight-knit group of guys. How does that help you?
It really helps out. We’re in a sport that’s difficult. As a lifestyle, it’s difficult. You’re using your body, you’re pushing yourself every day. It’s something that you don’t really want to do alone. We’ve got a great family network of like-minded people, and when I say family, not blood-related of course, but people that support each other. It makes it easier to have a lifestyle like that. You can make it fun. You don’t rise and fall with your wins and losses. You consistently have good people that are supportive, and that’s important, you know? I see people that put their livelihood on whether they win or lose. What we like to do is train lifestyle, we’re having a great time, and we’re trying our best to be world champs.

You’re in UFC Personal Trainer, and beginners should get a kick out of the game, but what about guys who already train regularly? What does it offer them?
The whole thing about this game is that there’s potential for everybody. I just did a one-minute session on the bag work, and it got me winded. That’s because I know how to push myself, and I know my techniques, but this is a creative and fun way to change it up. I felt like I did bag work just now. If I were to hurt my hands, I might do this instead of shadow boxing. You get a reaction with that bag. I’m picking my shots, aiming, and when I’m injured or something like that, when my hand hurts, I think I could step this in and make a good workout out of it.

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