In less than a month, our namesake, BJ Penn, will make his highly anticipated return to the Octagon in the main event of UFC Manilla as he faces #4 ranked featherweight Ricardo Lamas. The fight will serve as not only Penn’s return to the Octagon, but also his featherweight debut.
While Penn was originally slated to fight Dennis Siver earlier this year for his return fight, he now meets arguably one of the toughest fighters in the division, former featherweight title challenger Ricardo Lamas.
Lamas, who has consistently proved he belongs at the top of the UFC’s featherweight division, is looking to bounce back from a unanimous decision loss to Max Holloway back at UFC 199. The way ‘The Bully’ sees his fight with Penn, it’s a risky one:
“It’s kind of a dangerous fight for me. I have a lot to lose here. I’m the one that’s ranked up high in the division, he’s kind of making a comeback. I think there’s a lot of people that are expecting him to lose already. There’s not a lot of expectations coming from Penn’s side. All the pressure is on me to perform, and to win.”
“On the other hand, fighting a name like Penn is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Can’t turn it down. This guy is a living Hall of Famer, 2-divison world champion, so on paper he’s the most credentialed opponent that I’ve ever had, and I’m up for any challenge so we took it immediately.”
Despite the fact that Lamas has earned the reputation as one of the toughest men in the UFC’s featherweight division, being stopped only once in his entire UFC career, Penn recently predicted that he would finish Lamas during ‘BJPenn.com’s Rapid Fire’. The way Lamas sees it however, that’s a bold statement:
“I’m not going to be a stepping stone for anyone. I don’t care if he’s a 2-division world champ or whatever. I’m not here to let anybody make their comeback, make their career, and make their name off me. So it’s a bold statement for him to say that he’s gonna finish me, and I just don’t see it happening.”
While Penn is arguably has some of the best Jiu-Jitsu in the UFC, Lamas also boasts some of the best ground-and-pound in the UFC as well. In his fight with Erik Koch, Lamas put on a display of some of the most brutal ground and pound in recent memory. With that being said, ‘The Bully’ isn’t worried about taking the fight to the ground with Penn if need be:
“I’m not afraid to take this fight to the ground one bit. I know BJ’s credentials on the ground and all that, but I’m fully confident in my abilities on the ground. My ground and pound, and anti-Jiu-Jitsu is very strong. He can play that little game on the ground, but if it goes down there, he’s going to get hurt.”
Tune in on October 15th as Ricardo Lamas and BJ Penn throw down in a fight which has all the makings of an instant classic!