by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder B.J. Penn moves back up to the welterweight division to take on UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre on Super Bowl weekend, Jan. 31, in Las Vegas for the welterweight title. Speculation about what weight class Penn’s fighting future would be in if he defeats St. Pierre has swirled since the bout agreements were signed.
According to UFC president Dana White, if Penn beats St. Pierre, he will be the first fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time and will defend both belts.
“Once you win the title and you accomplish so many things in the fight business, then it becomes about legendary status, making your mark, going down as one of the greatest fighters of all time,” said White.
“The problem I always talk about with B.J. is trying to contain this kid and keep him focused on staying at 155 and defending his title there. He’s been doing that. And I think now is the time. Now is a great time. He’s saying if he wins the 170-pound title, he’s going to defend both titles.”
“Should B.J. win, one of the things he would do is defend two titles at the same time,” White continued. “Nobody has ever done that. It’s never been done.”
Penn has held the UFC welterweight title before, winning it by defeating long-time champion Matt Hughes at UFC 46, ironically on the same day he’ll rematch St. Pierre, Jan. 31, 2006.
“I want to leave a mark in this sport,” Penn told the media during a recent press conference. “When I was 22-years-old, I wanted to become the lightweight champion of the world. I’m going to be 30-years-old next month and I want to become the best ever. And this is my chance.”
But BJ Penn’s not thinking about defending his lightweight championship right now. He’s focused on Georges St. Pierre. “I could think about that stuff all day, but really I’ve got to concentrate on the first step ahead of me. And it’s a big one. It’s Georges St. Pierre,” said the UFC lightweight titleholder. “I really can’t look past that night… I’m just concentrating on the man that everyone says is the best.”