... and only came back to "honor" and "respect" his long-time opponent, Matt Hughes:
"I don't even think I really set up [the knockout punch]. I was just in there to fight. I wanted him to hit me and I wanted to hit him. I was just in the mindset of fight like a kid. A lot of people have been questioning if I'm motivated and if I really want to do this. So I wanted to come out tonight and show everybody my fighting spirit and what I'm all about. [I ran out of the cage] because for the last 10 years I've been trying to repeat my Caol Uno fight.... But one of my coaches grabbed me and said you have to go get your arm raised. I said 'you know what, I can't be disrespectful with Matt' so I went back in and gave Matt the honor."
Former welterweight and lightweight champion BJ Penn traded his brash trash talk for words of praise about his three-time nemesis, Matt Hughes. Penn and Hughes have rich history, which goes back more than six years ago when "The Prodigy" stunned then-champion Hughes -- and perhaps a majority of the mixed martial arts universe -- with a submission win. Hughes, of course, would later go onto avenge the loss two years later, setting the table for the trilogy match last night in the UFC 123 co-main event. Penn would get the last laugh, but he wasn't really laughing at all. On the contrary, the emotional Hawaiian collected himself after the huge win and heaped praise on the Illinois native -- a far cry from the war of words of years past. And a fantastic way to tie a ribbon around one of the sport's biggest rivalries.