BJ Penn is back.
We don’t know where or when or whom he will fight, but we know that BJ Penn is coming out of retirement and plans another run at another belt.
Penn is one of only two men that has held a UFC title in two different weight classes; Randy Couture is the other. On Tuesday’s edition of The MMA Hour, he confirmed that he wants to become the only fighter to ever win a belt in three different UFC weight classes.
Featherweight champion Conor McGregor will attempt to become the only fighter to win two UFC belts in two different weight classes and hold them simultaneously, when he faces lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos on March 5. But it appears that Penn is taking aim at the featherweight portion of that equation.
“I want to go get that 145-pound belt. That’s definitely a huge motivation for me,” said Penn. “I believe with Greg Jackson’s help, I can get that done. And I believe that I will be able to walk away as the only man with three titles in three weight divisions.”
The speculation began a few months ago when Penn told FOX Sports that he might consider a return if he could fight Nik Lentz. More recently, he again targeted Lentz, calling him out via social media. Penn then popped up at Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., where he was spotted training alongside the likes of bantamweight champion Holly Holms, former champ Jon Jones, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, and numerous others.
He’s now made it clear that he believes Jackson Wink MMA and Greg Jackson in particular can help him make a successful comeback and add to an already UFC Hall of Fame career.
Penn has retired and returned several times throughout his career, which spans back to 2001. He began his career in the UFC and has fought the entirety of it in the Octagon, save for a handful of K-1 promoted bouts in the early 2000s. He most recently retired following a drubbing at the hands of Frankie Edgar in 2014.
To get back into title contention, unless Edgar takes the belt from McGregor, it’s likely that Penn will again have to get past Edgar, whom he has lost to three times, for any hope of realizing his featherweight championship dream.
Having always been one of the most popular figures in UFC history, should he be successful enough to garner a fight with McGregor, it could easily be the blockbuster match-up that the promotion needs to warrant booking a fight at the likes of AT&T Stadium in Dallas or Croke Park in Ireland.