Tuesday’s teleconference for UFC on FOX 5 “the Prodigy” BJ Penn was asked the first question of the conference from the Canadian Press.
Q: It’s been said you have expressed interest in fighting Rory McDonald. Can you tell us what convinced you to come back to fighting? After you have seem to have called it quits in the cage and why is McDonald the opponent you would have wanted?
“I was just kinda hangin out contemplating on the beach whether to fight again – it’s better than staying on the couch. I realize I can’t do this forever. So I might as well make the most of it if I can.
As far as fighting with Rory, I think he’s a great opponent. He’s an up and comer. One of the top guys everyone says he’s gonna be a champion soon so…. Ending up with a fight against Rory – it wasn’t a tough decision. I’ve said in a couple of interviews – I’d like to have a fight with team tristar again. They are a great team. Everybody knows they have a lot of champions in their club. I just think it’s a great fight all around.”
Q: Twitter exchange between you and rory responding to a picture of him referencing the acne in his back and drug test. Do you feel he’s doing something he shouldn’t
“I’m not gonna sit here and get into that with everybody right now. I’m sure there are people in all sports that bend the rules but I’m not gonna sit here and point the finger and as far as the doping and all that concern I realize that it’s a pain staking thing for the UFC and I don’t want to put them through that. They’ve got their own way – they take care of their thing but if I wanted to do a comeback I wanted to make it as safe as I can when I step to the ring. I’m not pointing the finger saying Rory you do steroids. I have nothing to do with that I’m just protecting my own butt.”
Q: What are yoru long term goal? Is it all based on this fight? Do you see a future after that? Do you see anything passed Dec 8?
“I am just focusing on this fight. I got no more plans after this. Once I do have any plan I will call Dana and we’ll talk from that point. I got no plans after Dec 8 my whole life is just into that.”
Q: Do you think superfights are good or bad for the UFC?
“Super fights are great. I think superfights causes a lot of hype and Dana knows that. Look at the name itself “superfight” it’s awesome. It’s what the sport is all about. Get the 2 best fighters in the world and put them in the ring and I gotta give that to Dana White he does that all the time no Pacquiao-Mayweather situation ever happen. He’s the man. Dana White is the man.”
Q: There is people who believe in you, people who doubt you. What do you expect from yourself on Dec 8?
“I really expect a lot out of myself on Dec 8. I got back my old trainer that trained me for the Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, Sean Sherk fight. We took my belly off. I think the best thing for me was the fight getting postponed and pushed back.
I started this training camp at probably 40% body fat. I was just gonna get in shape a little, go there and give it my best effort but as things started going on Rory ended up pulling out of the fight 10 weeks out of the fight.
Then he was saying I looked fat and a whole bunch of different things, he’ll probably end up killing me in the ring. That really lit a fire under my butt and I think I’m down 10% now.
I’m ready to go. I’m expecting the best BJ Penn that I’d ever seen. We’ll just see how this all plays out.”
Q: Do you feel that you need someone to light a fire under you that you needed some sort of challenge to come from somebody like this? Whether it’s just a set of words or whatever – if so why?
“Fighting it’s still not a sport for me.
I don’t know if I should be saying this out on a conference call. Fighting is still a fight for me – it’s always been. I’m not a great athlete that can play any sport. I can’t do much different sports but one thing I can do – I can always fight back. I go into a fight. This is a fight – this isn’t putting a ball in a hole.
This has always been a a fight for me. I just love it when it’s that way. I love it when my opponent says he’s fat, I’ll end up killing him, his nothing, this and that. It’s just ‘Oh, wonderful! I couldn’t ask for anything more.’
I never lost my old mentality actually. I lost guys to prepare properly. I want to be able do this for the rest of my life and I want to give it a good shot with this fight coming up.”
Q: You were the smaller man when you fought GSP 2x. Do you think George owes it to the sport to fight Anderson Silva?
“That fight is on George himself but everybody in this phone call knows what BJ would do. You know what I would do if Dana called me and say fight the champion above. You know what I would do.”
Q: I wonder how much you think about your legacy. I know you will fight anybody at any time. People speak of you in such high regard – I wonder if that factors in what you do and the decisions you make. Just curious in how you respond to all that adoration you get from your fans.
“I texted Dana a couple month ago saying I watch all these interviews and no one says my name when they are talking about the greatest fighters anymore and I really don’t like that. It really bothers me. I know it’s my fault and I’m the reason why people talk about me when they talk about GSP or Anderson Silva. My name was always in the mix. It’s never in the mix any more.
I told Dana I got a real problem with that’s actually a big part of my motivation to come back and show them and do a good fight here on December 8.
As far as you saying people admire me and different things…. I want to thank all those people. Everything is current. I’m a glass half empty kind of a guy. Everything is current. I don’t want to be known as he was good back in the day. I want to be known as one of the best. With that said, I don’t want to sit here and say I want more admiration because as you said a lot of people admire me but I still think I have some left to accomplish.”
UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz is an upcoming mixed martial arts event to be held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on December 8, 2012 at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington. It will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.
FULL CONFERENCE CALL RECORDING: