Urijah Faber may regret the encouragement he gave to Scott Jorgensen years ago.
The mixed martial arts bantamweights' friendship dates to their collegiate wrestling days Faber as an assistant coach at UC Davis and Jorgensen as a three-time Pacific-10 Conference champion for Boise State at 133 pounds (2003-05).
Faber (27-6), from Sacramento, and Jorgensen (14-6), of Boise, Idaho, headline tonight's Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale (9 p.m., FX) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
It's Faber's first non-pay-per-view bout since he fought in World Extreme Cagefighting. Faber said he doesn't expect to lose to Jorgensen, but if he does, he's aware of the irony since he got Jorgensen into the sport.
"I was coaching at UC Davis and just starting my MMA career, and every time I saw Scott, he was wearing some sort of MMA shirt," Faber said by phone Thursday night. "He was a really talented wrestler, and I told him after he was done wrestling he should pursue MMA. Since then, he's come to Sacramento to work out, and we've become friends."
Friend or not, Jorgensen said when the doors in the Octagon are shut, Faber will be a foe.
"Urijah basically recruited me to this sport when I was still wrestling in college," Jorgensen said. "We've been good friends for a while and share the same managers. But it's a fight, and we're both going in there to win."
Jorgensen, coming off a victory over John Albert last December in Seattle, has landed 630 significant strikes in his 20 pro fights, according to Fightmetric, the UFC's statistics provider, putting him atop the bantamweight list and contributing to his "Young Guns" nickname.
But Faber has a 70 percent success rate of avoiding significant strikes, seventh all time in the UFC regardless of weight class.
"Urijah Faber is one of the best bantamweights in the world, and he proved it at UFC 157 by submitting Ivan Menjivar in the first round," UFC President Dana White said. "He's ready to jump right back in the Octagon with Scott Jorgensen, who's ranked seventh in the world at 135 pounds. Both of these guys like to finish fights."
Reach Mark Billingsley at firstname.lastname@example.org.