B.J. Penn Claims Rory MacDonald Was Exactly 'What I Needed' for UFC Return
The long speculated return of B.J. Penn is finally official.
After the UFC unsuccessfully tried to use Josh Koscheck to draw the "Prodigy" out of retirement, the young lion in the UFC's welterweight division, Rory MacDonald, took a crack at it. Penn verbally agreed to fight MacDonald via his website, but it wasn't made official until a day after UFC on FX 3.
Penn was a guest on Tuesday's UFC Tonight and was interviewed by hosts Kenny Florian and Todd Harris. Responding to Harris, Penn explained why he came back for a fight with MacDonald:
Rory's a guy with a lot of hype around him and it's a lot of good hype. That hype is justified. He's been doing very well. I wanted to go up against him, Firas, the whole TriStar team. They got a real good thing going on up there and I want to take a crack at it.
Penn has the scars from his last fight with Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94, where he said many incendiary things about the welterweight champion. While I'm certain that Penn is intrigued by the unique stylistic matchup that MacDonald presents, it's very likely that he wants to prove he can beat Firas Zahabi's young lion.
Penn is a naturally competitive person. Knowing his personality, he didn't want to retire from MMA on a loss to Nick Diaz. He's young enough that he could still hypothetically make another run at a UFC belt and get a potential third fight with St. Pierre.
Usually I'd expect the crowd to favor the Canadian fighter, but with Penn being such a fan favorite and coming out of retirement, I wouldn't be surprised if he's showered with adulation.
The fight with MacDonald is tentatively scheduled for UFC 152 in Toronto this September. The main event is expected to be Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez II.
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