The UFC 152 fight between Vitor Belfort and Jon Jones will take place this Saturday, and the fight is already standing out from other similar fights for the fact that both fighters have expressed great respect for one another for being Christian.
Jon Jones was widely criticized for declining a fight against Chael Sonnen on Sept.1. However Belfort, his current opponent has defended him, saying he is the "best guy in that weight division."
"I know his position," Belfort, who volunteered to fight Jones, said last week. "He's young. He's the best guy in that weight division, the new breed. The guys coming from this era, it's a different mentality. They come [from] a different era."
Some fighters have accused Jones of being selfish and looking only after his own self-interests. However, Belfort has been one of the few to refuse to judge him and top actively speak out in his defense.
"I don't like when people try to make fighters hate each other," Belfort said.
Belfort's position is rooted in his personal values based upon his Christian faith, and it was in fact through the pain of losing his sister in 2004 that brought him to Jesus Christ.
His Christian values are something that he shares with the light-heavyweight champion, and that has seemingly become a major source of the respect the two fighters share for one another. Indeed, Belfort has even said that it was a "pleasure" and an "honor" to fight Jones.
"I have a lot of respect for a man who can live Christianity. That's what I live for. That's why I prophesy the name of Jesus. I know people judge me, but you know what? When you point a finger, you have four fingers point back to you, so you have to be careful."
Last week, in a conference call for UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort, both unexpectedly spoke about the impact their faith has had on them.
Jones, currently the youngest champion in UFC history, has openly spoken about his faith: "If I didn't have Christ in my life, I'd be a hot mess."
About his fight with Belfort he has declared: "I'm honored to fight Vitor Belfort. Vitor is a Christian like I am, he is an honorable man, he's a good classy clean-cut dude, this is an honor in fighting against Vitor Belfort," according to The MMA (After) Hour.
Belfort made his debut at the age of 19 back in the mid-1990s and has faced the struggles of fame at a young age, which is something Jon Jones is facing now.
"The Phenom" declared in previous fights that regardless of wins of losses he's already earned victory through Jesus Christ.