by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
In an exclusive video interview
with MMAWeekly.com at last weekend’s International Mixed Martial Arts Expo,
Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion B.J. Penn spoke
about his future plans.
In a meeting with UFC president
Dana White last week, Penn extended his UFC contract for “a couple more years,”
and said a Dec. 27 return to the Octagon is imminent.
Penn returned to the gym recently
after a two-month layoff. After realizing a gap between his talents and
ambition, Penn poured himself into training over the last year and a half,
delivering stellar performances against Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, and Sean Sherk
in the process. Now the undisputed champion, Penn needed to take a break before
his intensity compromised his health.
“It came to the point where it was
like, if you don’t do this it’s going to hurt you really bad down the road,” he
Healed up from nagging injuries,
Penn is again eyeing the welterweight and lightweight divisions for December.
Two benchmark fights happen at this weekend’s UFC 87 event in Minnesota:
Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch and Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta. The result
of those contests could very well determine Penn’s next two opponents. He made
it clear that his preference is for the 170-pound division, which means that he
is watching the main event of UFC 87 very closely.
“Without a doubt. Jon Fitch is a great
opponent, a tough opponent, but St. Pierre brings the whole backing of Canada
with him to a fight,” said Penn. “It would be great to put on a big fight with
me and St. Pierre, but then again, it’s about me fighting the best fighter and
if Fitch goes down and proves he’s the best fighter, then he’s the man.”