If you were shocked to hear that not only will BJ Penn fight Frankie Edgar for a third time, but he’ll do so at 145 pounds, you were one of thousands of people who had the same reaction. After all, it wasn’t that long ago when UFC President Dana White relayed he thought it might be time for Penn to hang up the gloves. Then, when that didn’t occur, word surfaced that Penn was considering a return at lightweight. At the time, no one seemed to think “The Prodigy” might make a run at featherweight.
Recently during a FOX Sports Google Hangout, White shed some light on what led to Edgar-Penn III, and what might be driving the former lightweight and welterweight champ (quotes via MMA Fighting.com).
“So then B.J. calls me 45 minutes later. He’s like, ‘Hey Dana, I didn’t answer your phone call because I don’t want you to talk me out of this. I know how you are. I know what you’re going to say, and you’re going to talk me out of it.’ I was like, you’re damn right I’m going to talk you out of it. He says, ‘The reason I want to fight Ben Henderson is because I believe if I beat Ben Henderson, you’ll give me a shot to fight Frankie Edgar.’ I’m like, ‘Frankie Edgar?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, I want this Frankie Edgar fight worse than anything. Those two losses are a rock in my shoe. He should’ve never beat me. That guy can’t beat me.'”
“B.J. is one of these guys who, I think, is fighting some demons right now, in that, if he could go back and do it all over again, I think he’d do it differently,” White said.
“I’ll tell you again. B.J. Penn is a legend. He’s been here since the day we bought the company. Me and B.J. have had our times when we butted heads on many things. (But) if he wants it, I’m going to give it to him.”
It’s a compelling move by Penn, and considering how undersized he looked versus welterweights Rory MacDonald and Nick Diaz, it’s going to be fascinating to see what he can do at featherweight.
Stay tuned to MMA Convert.com for all your UFC news.