SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 14: BJ Penn speaks to the media during a UFC 127 Press Conference at Star City on December 14 2010 in Sydney Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is giving the Philippines another look after trying unsuccessfully to get a mixed martial events on Filipino television
And it's bringing in a little help from Hawaii.
Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn was a part of Zuffa's promotional tour and "The Prodigy" was on hand to discuss the local MMA scene in Manila.
"The beauty of mixed martial arts is - it's gonna grow so big, and so fast around the whole world because every country has its own martial arts. Filipinos have so many different martial arts. Every country has so much martial arts, and this thing is gonna grow fast and everybody's gonna have a shot at becoming a champion."
Could fans already be close to having a Filipino champion?
Mark Munoz is widely considered one of the top middleweight contenders in the UFC and is thought to be one fight away from challenging for the 185-pound crown.
Fellow Filipino and light heavyweight veteran Brandon Vera, while nowhere near the top of the 205-pound mountain, is still a recognizable face and mainstay on UFC programming.
And speaking of programming, the major hurdle in bringing MMA to the airwaves is working out a deal with television giant ABS-CBN.
From Kevin Chang, UFC-Asia's senior director for media (via Philstar.com):
"There's a chance the UFC will hold fights in the Philippines. The UFC is working it out with ABS-CBN and Balls, maybe next year."
A lot of stars would have to align, but don't think Munoz isn't dreaming of challenging for the division strap in front of a stadium fulling of screaming Filipinos.