Sunday, January 15th, in Phoenix, Arizona, UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn will make his highly anticipated return to the Octagon when he steps into the cage to fight streaking featherweight prospect Yair Rodriguez in a highly anticipated showdown.
For BJ Penn, he will be looking to capture his first win since formally ending his retirement in 2016, where he also announced his intentions to make a run at the featherweight title with famed coaches Greg Jackson & Mike Wikeljohn in his corner.
Ahead of the fight, BJ Penn spoke to MMAFighting to discuss the scrap, his return, and the rocky road he has faced over the course of the last year to make his return to the Octagon:
“My whole goal right now is to just get that third world title,” Penn told MMA Fighting ahead of his headlining fight on Sunday night. “And then we’ll see. If it takes a little while, maybe we walk away. If we get it quick, then maybe we go to 155. I don’t know. I don’t know, but I know … I’m in here to fight and I’m going to win on Sunday, and you’re going to see me again quick after this, for sure.”
While Penn was initially set to return to the Octagon several months ago, injuries delayed The Prodigy’s return, most recently forcing him out of his ‘UFC Philippines’ scrap with Ricardo Lamas. Penn reflected on his road to the Octagon on Sunday, saying:
“At first, I was burned out,” Penn admitted. “It was burning me out. I was wondering what was going on. But as we sit here today, I’m very glad that I had all this time to prepare. You know what? I would’ve been rushing it to come back (in April). After taking two years off, two solid years off from the gym — I didn’t even walk into the gym once for those two years. So after taking that time off, I was probably rushing to get back. But I guess the world had different plans. And here I am a year later, and I’m a year more prepared. So I believe that it all worked to my benefit.”