Former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion BJ Penn announced his return to the Octagon in April, and now he's making his intention to become the first UFC champion to hold titles in three weight classes known.
"There's more of an opportunity for me to get three UFC belts at 145 than going to 185," Penn said on the 5 Rounds Podcast (h/t MMA Fighting) I feel really confident that nobody's gonna be able to get the 155 and 170 pound belts. But my best shot at 38-years-old, if you really wanted to ask me — I want to get one more world title and to try to get three titles at three weight classes — and without a doubt 145 is my best option."
The thing is, he's already tried fighting at featherweight and it didn't go so well for him. In fact, his loss to Frankie Edgar was so lopsided, it's often cited as his reason for retirement.
Penn hasn't had the easiest time getting back to the Octagon, and his return fight has been delayed three times. First, due to criminal allegations which forced him out of his fight with Dennis Siver at UFC 197, and then his UFC 199 bout with Cole Miller was cancelled after Penn admitted to violating USADA's rule against using IVs. Most recently, he was set face Ricardo Lamas at UFC Fight Night Manila, but an injury forced him out of the bout (the event was later cancelled).
He will now face a tough Yair Rodriguez who is 5-0 in the UFC and ranked No. 10 among featherweights. Penn hasn't won a fight since 2010, but he doesn't seem worried.
"I just like fighting again," Penn said. "Standing in front of people, sparring every day, punching people, getting into fist fights every morning. I like it and I missed it. I can't live without it right now. While I can still lift my arms up and do sprints, and I still can do all these things, this is what I want to do. This is what I love to do. This is the best way I know how to make an honest living. This is me."
Penn will face Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night Phoenix on January 15.