Hilo, Hawaii’s UFC Hall of Fame legend BJ Penn recently announced his decision to come out of retirement for a run in the UFC’s stacked 145-pound division. Penn, who was expected to be back for his return to fight at UFC 196 on March 5, hit a slight speed bump in his road back to the Octagon.
BJPENN.COM got to speak with “The Prodigy” about the UFC’s change of plans for his return.
“I thought the fight guaranteed was going to happen because the UFC, they set up medicals for me to do,” Penn said. “I did the medicals and they were sending a film crew down and we were getting all that together and I assumed we were setting up the fight, and that might have been what was happening. But, at the end of the day, Sean Shelby (UFC matchmaker) called me and said it would be more convenient for all of us to move the fight to April 23rd.”
It was just recently announced that April 23 will feature the UFC light heavyweight championship between champion Daniel Cormier and former champion Jon Jones.
Penn added that his yet to be announced opponent that he was preparing for will meet him on April 23 and that he will be training in Albuquerque until the fight.
“From what I understand, it is the same opponent and that is it. We’re going to meet on that card.”
“You know what? I’m going to stay here the whole way out and train. You have heard ‘what you feed the most, grows the biggest,’ and I’m going to stay here and immerse myself in the martial arts and see how good I can get.”
Although the always game Hilo scrapper will have to wait a bit longer to get some blood on his gloves, it will only give more time to prepare with his new coaches and mentors Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn at JacksonWink MMA Academy.
“We know that we kind of just started working together and we were just going to go out and do anything to get the victory. You know, Greg Jackson is real excited about it and we have more time for us to prepare.”
For the fans who may have already made plans for seeing Penn return to the Octagon on March 5, he was apologetic for the change of his fight date.
“I apologize,” Penn said sincerely. “I thought the fight was going 100 percent on March 5th. This change I can’t control but hope to have the fans support on April 23rd in Las Vegas.”