It seems that all the rumors are finally becoming real. First, it was the trash talk and Penn’s troubles with Nik Lentz’s comments. Then, Greg Jackson appeared on the scene to help BJ with his training camp. Even though UFC president, Dana White, hasn’t confirmed an opponent nor date, “The Prodigy” announced on his website that he was returning to the octagon at UFC 197.
In the beginning, there were speculations that BJ Penn would make his return at UFC 196. But as the UFC Hall of Famer, former UFC Lightweight Champion and UFC Welterweight Champion expressed in his site: UFC matchmaker, Sean Shelby called him and said, “it would be more convenient for all of us to move the fight to April 23rd.”
Nonetheless, Penn certainly seems to be focused on coming back big and snatch the featherweight belt from Conor McGregor. “I’m going through with this. I want to go get that 145-pound belt. That is a huge motivation for me. I believe with Greg Jackson’s help I can get that done and walk away the only man with three titles in three separate divisions.” Said Penn on The MMA Hour.
On the other hand, Penn also has Nik Lentz on his head. The Prodigy wants this fight so bad that he told Lentz he would fight him at 155. “I will tell him right now. Nik, I will fight you at 155 pounds since you keep crying about the weight. Let’s do it.” He added.
BJ was considered at an early moment in his career one of the top pound-for-pound mixed martial artists in the world. He began his martial arts career as a Jiu-jitsu student, becoming the first American Gold medalist of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Recognition that would make him switch to MMA. Penn’s mixed martial arts debut with UFC was on May 24, 2001, with a win over Joey Gilbert at UFC 31.
BJ Penn holds the distinction of being undefeated as a Lightweight for over eight years, spanning a nine-fight unbeaten streak in the division and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2015. The 37-year-old fighter received his first UFC Championship belt in 2004 at UFC 46. The Prodigy submitted five times defending UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes, with a rear naked choked after 4 minutes into the first round. This fight is considered one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.
In 2008, BJ Penn fought Joe Stevenson for an interim lightweight title, which was previously stripped away from Sean Sherk, due to a suspension applied by the California State Athletic Commission. Later in May 2008, Penn fought former champion Sean Sherk in his first title defense bout, getting the victory by TKO.
We will have to wait and see if Greg Jackson is going to be able to sharpen BJ’s weapons in time. However, what it is sure is that “The Prodigy” could bring a lot of excitement to a division that suddenly has only one big name, right after Conor McGregor’s amazingly fast KO over Jose Aldo.