You can add Rory MacDonald to the ever-growing list of fighters taking the time to call out the still-retired BJ Penn.
MacDonald did so while appearing on yesterday's edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, saying:
Right now I feel there’s a guy that I want to fight before he leaves the sport and that’s BJ Penn. That’s a guy I really want to fight. I respect him a lot. He’s a legend and I think it’d be a really good matchup for me to have that fight in Toronto.
Join the club, Rory.
The UFC really wants to get Penn back in the Octagon, and for good reason. He's one of the few guys below 205 pounds that can be considered a legitimate and popular draw. And, at the end of the day, he's an aging superstar who can be used to help garner younger stars more popularity. He's lost more than he's won as of late, but a win over Penn still means something.
I don't know if the UFC put MacDonald up to this challenge like it did with the recently manufactured beef between Penn and Josh Koscheck. MacDonald is one of the quietest, most respectful fighters in the sport, so it's tough for me to imagine that he came up with this idea all on his own.
At the same time, however, this is the kind of thing more fighters need to be doing. I'm not sitting here telling you every fighter in the sport needs to call out someone else, because that would quickly become overwrought and boring and fake.
When you're sitting on the precipice of becoming a legitimate top contender in the division, though, it's time to start calling out other guys who can help you earn a bigger fanbase. Penn could do that for MacDonald, which is why calling out the Hawaiian legend is one of the smartest things the young Canadian has done thus far in his career.