by Matt Wilkins & Lee Whitehead – MMAWeekly.com
NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE – In his post-fight comments following B.J. Penn’s lightweight championship victory over Joe Stevenson, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White confirmed that Sean Sherk would be Penn’s first defense. He stated that the bout is planned for an unannounced event in May.
Much was made leading up to Saturday night’s main event at UFC 80 of Penn’s legacy in mixed martial arts. The win over Stevenson made him only the second fighter in UFC history to win a title in two different weight classes. The first was disgruntled heavyweight champion Randy Couture.
White stated that if Penn is able to defeat Sherk and hang on to the lightweight title, he could eventually see him returning to the welterweight division to fight Georges St. Pierre, assuming that St. Pierre still holds the belt if and when that time comes.
Aside from announcing Penn versus Sherk, White also indicated that Fabricio Werdum would be first in line to face the winner of Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, assuming that Couture doesn’t change his mind and decide to return and fight for the UFC. The winner of Sylvia versus Nogueira will be crowned the promotion’s interim heavyweight champion as the UFC refuses to strip Couture of his title designation, disgruntled or not.
Having recently taken up house with the Chute Boxe camp in Brazil, a newly aggressive Werdum defeated Gabriel Gonzaga on Saturday night, earning his shot at the interim champion.
Continuing with fighter related topics, White also said that Andrei Arlovski would be fighting at UFC 82 on March 1. He is expected to face an undefeated Jake O’Brien.
He also stated that Tito Ortiz would be fighting in May, if he accepts the UFC’s offer to face Lyoto Machida.
Other post-fight news and notes from Dana White:
–Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is currently thinking about his future and is undecided about what his next move is.
–Croatia, Scotland, Germany and Dublin are all “on the map” now and that the UFC plans to run an event in Germany this year.
–UFC intends to return to England in June at the O2 Arena in London.
– Season seven of The Ultimate Fighter, featuring coaches Quinton Jackson and Forrest Griffin, will start shooting following Jan. 23′s UFC Fight Night 12 event.
– World Extreme Cagefighting is being moved around, starting with the Feb. 13 event in Albuquerque, N.M., but won’t be coming to the U.K. until next year.
Other UFC 80 notes:
– Announced attendance of 8,412
– No. 1 selling event in the history of the Metro Radio Arena
– Fight of the Night awarded to Paul Kelly and Paul Taylor (Each fighter given a $35,000 bonus)
– Knockout of the Night to Wilson Gouveia ($35,000 bonus)
– Submission of the Night to B.J. Penn ($35,000 bonus)