Source: MMA Mania
BJ Penn won’t say it but his second loss to GSP at UFC 94 back in 2009 still stings him. Even though he won’t say it, that loss still haunts him to this day. BJ stopped short of referencing that loss as a motivation for his come back but said he wants to prove everyone at Tri-Star Gym wrong about how he performed. BJ was pummeled for four rounds before his corner and the referee stopped the fight. BJ just couldn’t take the beating from GSP any longer. BJ went on to say he has no animosity towards trainer Firas Zahabi or GSP as those events were in the past. The problem is he was full of contradictions as he tried to work out the reasons for taking Rory MacDonald as his comeback fight. The truth was BJ wanted another crack at GSP. Rory MacDonald, a GSP protege and Tri-Star Gym teammate represents all that still haunts BJ. If he were able to beat MacDonald, in a small way, BJ would be able to exorcise those demons as he fades into retirement. BJ clarified that he was not making a comeback, just finishing out his contract. What ever happens after might possibly hinge on the proposed fight at UFC 152 in MacDonald’s home of Toronto, Canada.
At first I thought taking the MacDonald fight was a mistake as he is a small name with huge momentum–someone BJ shouldn’t be fighting at this point in his career. Now I think its not such a bad decision. You saw what BJ was able to do against Jon Fitch and Nick Diaz, the guy still has some fight left in him. I think the time away has given him some renewed strength and energy. BJ has always been a guy that lacked motivation to train. This fight might actually fire him up to prove to the UFC, Tri-Star, Firas, and GSP that that last fight was a fluke. BJ even mentioned asking for a third fight with GSP that never came to fruition since he was beaten so badly by GSP the last time around. This fight really is it for BJ. If he loses, he sails into the sunset as one of the best fighters to have ever lived while not realizing his full potential; yet still winning belts at two weight classes. If he wins, BJ’s career is revitalized. Enough to make a run for a belt? That I am not so sure of. But I think it would be enough for BJ to negotiate a new and more lucrative contract with the UFC. Everyone knows that BJ is best suited for lightweight. BJ didn’t want to comment on anything beyond his last fight with MacDonald but a win against MacDonald might bring that guy back to the UFC. Otherwise, BJ is done and we can celebrate him for the fighter he almost was.
Update 6/9/2012: The Penn vs MacDonald fight is being rumored for UFC 152 in Toronto, Canada as a co-main event fight. The headliner could possibly be JDS vs Velasquez II. The Penn fight will only then be a 3 round fight which should help Penn out since he has cardio issues.
Update 6/13/2012: JDS’s coach Yuri Carlton believes JDS and Cain Velasquez will have a rematch later this year but there is a possibility it won’t happen at UFC 152. Carlton said Velasquez suffered a hand injury and may not be ready to fight in September.
Javier Mendez, Velasquez’s trainer, has said Velasquez was not hurt and will be ready to face JDS at UFC 152 in September. It looks like there is no cause for concern after all.
Update 6/23/2012: Dana White said Saturday night that the rematch between JDS and Cain Velasquez might not happen in Toronto after all. With the title fight no longer occurring at UFC 152, there is no word on if another title fight will take its place. White assured that the rematch will happen later this year though.
Update 6/26/2012: In a strange twist of events, BJ Penn also issued a challenge to Rory MacDonald through twitter to have independent drug testing done through VADA (Volunatary Anti Doping Agency). Surprisingly, MacDonald also accepted the challenge through twitter and even tagged Dana White in the conversation. I am not sure how White will take the news but it will at least be interesting. You know Penn believes there are some shady things going on at Tri-Star after he accused GSP of using HGH. Remember that BJ’s accusations were retracted though.
Update 7/25/2012: BJ Penn was not at today’s UFC 152 press conference due to a family obligation but Rory MacDonald was and he did not hold back. MacDonald says he does not think Penn is taking their fight seriously and will be in trouble when they fight. He went on to say he doesn’t care about BJ’s ongoing feud with Tri Star or GSP, but promised to “hurt him[BJ] even worse” than GSP did. I am truly frightened for BJ. He has been looking fat lately and that has not been lost on MacDonald. I think BJ is in trouble.
Update 8/5/2012: Rory MacDonald suffered a bad cut in sparring and needed a total of 38 stitches. Needless to say he had to withdraw from UFC 152 in September. MacDonald hoped to delay the fight with Penn for November in Montreal. BJ wrote back through his website that he would like the fight pushed back to October in Rio. There is no word from the UFC when they will reschedule the fight.
Update 8/7/2012: Jon Fitch threw his name into the mix for possible opponents to replace Rory MacDonald. Fitch has been wanting a rematch against Penn since the two fought to a draw last year. My advice for Fitch, pick on guys your own size and worry about Erick Silva. Calling Penn “a coward”? That is just name calling at this point. Penn came back for MacDonald, not Fitch.
Update 8/10/2012: There are rumors swirling that BJ Penn will fight Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 5 in December since all other cards are full and the FOX card needed a main event. This might be the biggest stage for BJ to strike an upset or suffer a pounding at the hands of MacDonald.