The spotlight has been on boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao this week as he prepares to step into the boxing ring for his latest title defense against Shane Mosley in Las Vegas.

Despite that the boxing icon has found time in his hectic schedule to praise some of the stars of the mixed martial arts world.

Asked by who his favorite MMA stars were Pacquiao named BJ Penn for his ability to win titles in more than one weight-class, and up and coming superstar Jon Jones, noting, “I love his athleticism and the way he conducts himself.”

Coincidentally, earlier this week Pacquiao and Jones were named as the two options for the ‘Guys Choice’ awards ‘Most Dangerous Man.’

Pacquiao also name-checked martial arts pioneer Bruce Lee as one of his heroes. While sadly not around long enough to see the birth and growth of MMA, Lee is often cited as being one of the forefathers of the sport due to his philosophy that students of martial arts should learn from all the different disciplines rather than just focus on one.

Though Pacquiao isn’t a hardcore MMA fan, it’s interesting to note that in his youth he trained in kickboxing.