Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn is going to fight again. The UFC Hall of Famer is set to return to the cage at UFC 232 on December 29 in Las Vegas, where he will battle BJJ whiz Ryan Hall.
For Penn, who is known for his world class grappling, this is a very interesting matchup, and one that he hopes will excite his legions of dedicated fans.
“I’m happy about the matchup,” BJ Penn said in an exclusive statement to BJPENN.COM. “Everybody was asking me to do a grappling match so maybe this will give some fans what they want to see.”
Ryan Hall has spent much of his recent MMA career training under the tutelage of legendary coach Firas Zahabi at Tristar in Montreal, Canada. Zahabi, to remind, is the long-time coach of former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre — one of the chief rivals of BJ Penn’s career. Penn is understandably excited about the possibility of competing against Firas Zahabi once again.
“I’m happy to be competing against Firas again if he is training Ryan,” Penn said. “Firas is one of the best trainers of all time and it is an honor to go up against him again. I don’t have a good track record against Firas so I’m excited to prove myself.”
In preparation for this exciting matchup with Ryan Hall, BJ Penn will be training under Andre “Dede” Pederneiras at Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — the same school he trained at during the early chapters of his legendary MMA career. This return to Nova Uniao has Penn feeling like he’s come full circle.
“I’m very happy to be with Dede training for this fight,” he said. “I am in Brazil right now but I will figure out how to get my work with Jason Parillo [in] also. I’m so happy to be at my old school, Nova Uniao. Maybe I have come full circle.”
Who do you think will come out on top when the cage door closes on BJ Penn and Ryan Hall at UFC 232?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/14/2018.