UFC legend BJ Penn has another comeback bout set, with former TUF: Latin America winner Yair Rodriguez lined up to be his opponent in the main event of UFC Fight Night 103 in Pheonix, Arizona on January 15th.
Penn has been trying to make a return to action for the best part of a year, but so far it’s proven to be easier said than done.
The former 155lb and 170lb champion had initially hoped to return in April at UFC 197, but that was canceled after it emerged he was being investigated over a criminal matter – though police later cleared him of any wrongdoing.
He was then lined up to fight Dennis Siver at UFC 199, but Siver suffered an injury and pulled out, with Cole Miller taking his place instead. However, the fight was then scrapped after Penn admitted to having used a banned IV drip during a hospital visit, leading to a six month suspension.
The jinx continued in October when Penn was scheduled to fight Ricardo Lamas in the main event of UFC Fight Night 97, but ‘The Prodigy’ was forced off the card due to an injury that resulted in the entire show being canceled.
Now Penn will be keeping his fingers crossed that it’s fourth time lucky and he finally gets an opportunity to show he’s still got what it takes to compete at a high level as he prepares to turn 38 years-old next month.
On paper it looks like another challenging match-up for him after a two and a half year absence from the sport, with the Mexican born Rodriguez emerging as a dangerous striker who has compiled a five fight winning streak in the Octagon so far, taking his overall career record to 8-1.