The greatest lightweight in UFC history may be gearing up for a return to the octagon. BJ Penn appears to ready to end his lengthy hiatus from the UFC. Josh Koscheck appears to be the lucky or unlucky fighter who will welcome back the Prodigy in the near future.
[adinserter block=”2″]Former The Ultimate Fighter competitor Josh Koscheck broke the news first on his Twitter account. Koscheck sent out a tweet today indicating that a fight with he and Penn is on the horizon.
“#UFC just offered me to fight BJ Penn…I said YES!!!!! Just waiting on him!!!!!! Let’s scrap bra?”
Now to be fair, the fight has yet to be confirmed or officially announced anywhere else. Is this Koscheck playing games with the MMA media and fans or is he really pumped to fight the former UFC lightweight champion? The MMA media is reporting this as the real deal so for the sake of argument, I’ll defer to them.
It should also be noted that Penn hasn’t officially accepted. According to one tweet by Front Row Brian (who is usually pretty damned accurate with his reports), Penn is not interested in the fight. I am a bit confused on this one. How can the UFC offer Koscheck a fight with someone who isn’t interested in the fight? This is a tough one because Brian seems to have a source close to Penn due to some of the tweets Brian has posted in the past about Penn wanting a rematch with Diaz badly, yet I can’t see how the UFC can offer a fight that isn’t available to one of its top fighters.
I’ll play devil’s advocate at this point as if the fight is on. I love this fight! I think it has the makings for a real fun battle. It is almost a perfect get-well fight for Penn who is coming off a loss to Nick Diaz that saw Penn lose a unanimous decision. Penn looked great early on but seemed winded and confused as the fight progressed against Diaz. A win would have likely earned Penn another crack at the UFC welterweight title. Penn announced his retirement immediately after the fight.
Right or wrong, nobody took Penn’s retirement seriously. Penn’s name has come up in potential fights over the last few months as if he was still a full time fighter. It was recently confirmed that Penn turned down a fight against current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez because Penn had no interest in “downgrading” and fighting in Strikeforce.
I think Penn still has the potential to put together a small win streak and earn a championship shot. Stars like Penn appear to have a much easier time getting championship fights after a few wins as opposed to some fighters that are kept out of the mix after numerous wins. If GSP can put Diaz and Condit behind him, a third fight with Penn could be a real possibility. It is probably more of a possibility if GSP loses one of those fights. The UFC could match the two back up in a title eliminator situation.
[adinserter block=”1″]Penn’s return brings to light a problem the UFC has had in creating new stars. While the UFC has created a handful of new stars the last few years, nobody has reached what I would call “superstar” status. Jon Jones is close but who else is even remotely close? The dirty little secret here is the UFC continuing to promote fighters past their prime to fans as if time is standing still. I am a Penn fan but I hope that the UFC isn’t enticing Penn to come back at the cost of his legacy.
Regardless I am pumped for the fight! I’ll take Penn in a decision.
Update: Koscheck now claims that the UFC asked him to stir it up on Twitter and there was no agreement in place to fight. “Me and B.J. have a good relationship. It’s business, and, you know what? I like to have big fights. I think that B.J. is the type of fighter that would be a big fight for me. The UFC asked to try and stir up something. You know, I do my job well, and I went on to my Twitter account, and just kinda said, ‘Hey, B.J. Let’s do this fight.”