With Martin Kampmann's impressive knockout victory over Jake Ellenberger this past Friday night (June 1, 2012) at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Johny Hendricks' victory over Josh Koscheck a few weeks ago at UFC on Fox 3 in N.J., the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight division is sorting itself out little by little.
However, title fights in the 170-pound division have been few and far between with current champion Georges St. Pierre sidelined with multiple injuries and interim champion Carlos Condit choosing to wait for the return of "Rush" in order to unify the titles. The last title fight was at UFC 143 this past February, during which "The Natural Born Killer" defeated Nick Diaz to become the division's interim champion.
In the midst of multiple number one contender bouts and one interim title fight, there has been one important player in the division who has slowly been flying under the radar in the form of the young Canadian Rory MacDonald.
Winner of his last three fights inside the Octagon, with his most recent coming over Che Mills at UFC 145 on April 21, 2012, "Ares" is slowly rising up the ranks of the 170-pound division and is looking to get his shot at the title one day; however, he will have to wait in line as Hendricks and Kampmann are the front runners for the time-being.
So what is the young star to do in the meantime? Fight a mixed martial arts (MMA) legend, of course.
On today's (June 4, 2012) episode of "The MMA Hour," MacDonald respectfully requested a match up with former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight champion B.J. Penn. Given the fact that MacDonald is only 22 years old and has plenty of time to fight the rest of the cream of the crop in the division, he would like to chance to compete against a fighter he has respected growing up in "The Prodigy" before it is simply too late.
Check out what he had to say after the jump:
"Right now I feel there's a guy that I want to fight before he leaves the sport and that's B.J. Penn. That's a guy I really want to fight. I respect him a lot. He's a legend and I think it'd be a really good matchup for me to have that fight in Toronto I think it'd be a great opportunity. I'd love the opportunity to fight a guy I've looked up to for a long time and watched since I've been a young kid, so we'll see if he accepts. I'm throwing the idea out there. If he'd like to do it, I'm more than ready to accept. It's more of the idea that he may be retiring, so how many opportunities am l going to get to fight a guy like BJ after he's gone? I think it'd be a great fight. I know I'm going to fight all these guys in the top 10 eventually. I'm a young guy and these guys are going to be around for a long time and I know I'm going to get my shot against all these guys, and maybe I'll be missing my opportunity if I wait too long with B.J. It's definitely not an easy fight. I definitely think I'll win. I'm very confident in myself, but B.J.'s a very dangerous fighter. If you take him lightly, you're in for a very bad night. I'll be at my very best if that fight happens."
Currently, UFC 152 is the event scheduled for Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 22, 2012, with no major fights announced, while UFC 154 is penciled in for Nov. 17, 2012 in Calgary. Should a bout between the young prospect and wily future Hall of Famer ever come to fruition, it would definitely be on par for a co-main event slot if not the headlining bout of a major card.
Of course, Penn is currently enjoying his retirement, but has recently mentioned that he is "warming up" to the idea of returning back to action. A fight against Josh Koscheck wasn't enticing enough to get "Baby J" back into a training camp, maybe a fight against one of the hottest welterweight fighters today will be.
Training out of Tri-Star gym alongside Georges St. Pierre, MacDonald made sure to acknowledge that he isn't calling out Penn in a disrespectful way ... far from it. He simply says that the only way to get things is to simply ask for them.
How about it Maniacs, does this potential clash of past vs. present, old vs. new, interest you?