"BJ Penn still holds court, right?"
As fans cheered for Penn as he took to the grappling mats, it was apparent that Penn is still as big a name as ever. It makes sense. Penn is considered by all to be a legend in MMA. However, his legacy has recently been called into question by Rory MacDonald, his UFC on Fox 5 opponent.
MacDonald is the young phenom in the welterweight division, and the heir apparent to Georges St-Pierre's welterweight title. At the UFC on Fox 5 media scrum, MacDonald had some choice words regarding Penn's legacy and legendary status.
"He's like me before. That's what I would say. I would say what he said. 'Oh he's fighting to be remembered, I'm fighting to hurt him.' That sounds like BJ Penn a couple years ago," said Penn.
"I think he's a good fighter. He's very well-rounded ground and standup. Great coaches. That said, I think it will make for an exciting night for the fans."
The fight between the two welterweights is unique as the fighters agreed to outside testing from the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). Penn has always been outspoken when it comes to drug testing and keeping the sport clean. However, he was very honest when he stated his reasoning for wanting VADA testing for the bout with MacDonald.
"I can sit here and tell you a bunch of BS about how I'm trying to clean up the sport but it's just to me. I'm just trying to save myself and keep myself healthy."
After months away from the sport, some were surprised that Penn chose to return to the cage. Penn's decision to fight at welterweight raised some eyebrows as he's found the most success at lightweight.
"I walked away not just because of the Nick Diaz fight but because of the last five fights. I had one win, three losses, and a draw. I was like 'Where's this going? What's the point?' But as I sat at home to train and do other things, I'm fine. I do well with everybody. Why not step back in?"
"I'm almost 34 now. I don' t see the point of eating chicken salad and training for six hours off of that. I always thought and I always knew that if I prepared myself properly at 170 pounds that I could do well at 170 pounds."
He added, "I've never walked into the ring and had a guy wipe me right out. It's never ever happened. If I give a little extra, if I do it properly, I feel like I can be a force in the division."
Penn faces Rory MacDonald on the main card of UFC on Fox 5 at the KeyArena in Seattle on September 8.
*All quotes attained by Bleacher Report at the UFC Open Workouts.