At UFC 94 the Welterweight Championship belt will be on the line. BJ Penn, reigning Lightweight champion, will challenge Welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre. The stakes in this bout are as personal as they are professional.
Back at UFC 58, Penn lost a controversial split decision to St. Pierre. Their first match decided the top contender for the Welterweight Championship belt. The victor, St. Pierre, fought champion Matt Hughes, and claimed the title as his own.
This has not set well with Penn. In the eyes of many, the Prodigy was robbed of a victory and a chance at the Welterweight title.
In their first match, Penn’s heavy strikes bloodied GSP. St. Pierre’s injuries—cuts and a broken nose—could have stopped the match; he was clearly in trouble.
But impressive take-downs, especially in the second and third rounds, earned GSP favorable points with the judges. The match ended with a battered St. Pierre narrowly escaping a submission via gogoplata.
As the announcer read the decision, St. Pierre’s relief was obvious. It was equally obvious that Penn was appalled.
Bad blood has accumulated ever since. BJ Penn, along with many of his fans, never accepted the questionable loss. Others concur with the judges. The upcoming clash is expected to settle the score.
Personal feuding aside, this match pairs up two reigning title-holders. If Penn defeats St. Pierre, he will not only avenge a loss, but will be the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold championship belts in two weight classes.
However, Penn's victory is far from assured.
Georges "Rush" St. Pierre has greatly improved since his contest with the Prodigy nearly three years ago. He has expanded his skill set, becoming stronger, faster, and more well-rounded as a fighter.
In addition, he has beaten Matt Hughes twice.
Either way, the bout will rock the house, and send ripples throughout the MMA world.