It's never an easy decision for friends to fight, much less former training partners, but that's the quandary Urijah Faber was faced with when the UFC asked him to face Scott Jorgensen at the Ultimate Fighter 17 finale.
The original main event was a flyweight title fight between 125-pound king Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga, but a shoulder injury forced the champion off the card and sent the UFC searching for a new headline fight.
That's when the call was made to Faber and Jorgensen to step in and fill the slot as the new main event for this weekend's card.
While not unusual for two former title contenders to face off, it was a tough bout for both to accept because of their longstanding friendship.
Faber and Jorgensen have known each other for many years and have trained together in the past while working at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif. When the UFC called Faber and asked him to take the fight, his next call was to Jorgensen to see what he thought about two friends throwing down in the Octagon.
"We actually did have a phone conversation," Faber revealed when speaking with Bleacher Report. "We kind of talked about not really wanting to fight much unless it was for a belt, but this was a big fight. This is something they've tried to put together before that we've been able to deflect it. At this point it just kind of had to happen.
"Scott and I are good buddies. I've got a team of guys here that I won't be fighting, and that's how that's going to kind of pan out. You can't not fight a bunch of guys in your weight class, especially in the top of the world."
Beyond their friendship and status as former training partners, Faber and Jorgensen also share the same management team, which means they are routinely together during events and have worked with many of the same sponsors over the years.
It's not an enviable position for Faber to sit in ahead of a fight, but he knows that he can beat Jorgensen up in the cage and still go back to being friends when the night is over.
"We're going to be friends before and friends after, but during the fight it's going to be a knock-down, drag-out, and it is what it is," said Faber.
In terms of the technical aspect of the fight, Faber has trained with Jorgensen quite a bit over the years, but that doesn't mean he has some special insight that can't be found in the hours of fight footage that exist already.
Faber says that training isn't fighting, and no matter how much effort they put into their sessions together, it's not the same as actually facing off inside the cage.
"I don't think it matters much. We've changed a lot over the years. I know the basics of Scott Jorgensen—which is he's super tough, he's a great wrestler, not afraid to throw punches and he's a well-rounded fighter. He knows the same thing about me. I don't know what he'll take from training with me in the past or vice versa, but a fight's a fight," said Faber.
"It's always so much different. It's always so much more intense, and things happen in a split second and it's all instinctive. I don't dwell on that kind of thing.
"We're going to do our thing regardless of whether we've seen each other before or not. It doesn't matter."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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