It’s official, BJ Penn hasn’t retired from MMA after all. The former lightweight and welterweight champion confirmed last night that he’ll return to action against Rory MacDonald at 170lbs in September at UFC 152.
UFC officials have been trying to tempt the star back into the Octagon for a number of months, at one stage trying to drum up interest in a fight with Josh Koscheck, but Penn had claimed that he wasn’t going to be putting on his gloves again anytime soon.
However, it appears he’s now changed his mind after reading that rising 22 year-old star MacDonald, who many believe could be a future champion of the division, wanted the chance to fight him.
“Right now I feel there’s a guy that I want to fight before he leaves the sport and that’s BJ Penn,” MacDonald told Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour’ radio show on Monday. “That’s a guy I really want to fight. I respect him a lot. He’s a legend and I think it’d be a really good matchup for me to have that fight in Toronto.”
Responding to those comments, Penn simply wrote on his Twitter account, “Rory, I accept your challenge!”
MacDonald, who’s currently 4-1 in the UFC and 13-1 for his career overall, will no doubt be thrilled to hear that as it will offer him the chance to test his abilities against a legend in by far his most profile fight to date.
As for Penn, he’s always liked to challenge himself, and going up against someone who’s considered to be the future of the sport certainly fits the bill.
Personally I’m disappointed he’s going to be returning at welterweight as he’s better suited to fighting at lightweight, but nonetheless it’s good to see him back and this will be a very intriguing fight indeed.