B.J. Penn cuts UFC retirement short, accepts Rory MacDonald challenge

SYDNEY AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 22: BJ Penn talks to the media during an Open Workout ahead of UFC Sydney 127 at Star City on February 22 2011 in Sydney Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

That didn't take long. And I'm not talking about the premature, self-imposed mixed martial arts (MMA) retirement of B.J. Penn.

Just yesterday, Welterweight phenom Rory MacDonald respectfully expressed his interest in fighting the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) two-division champion, saying that the legendary Hawaiian fighter "is a really good match up" and would "be a great opportunity."

Penn responded in kind, little more than 24 hours later, via BJPenn.com:

"Rory, I accept your challenge!"

Short and sweet, even though it's far from official. The promotion will obviously have to green-light it if that's a match up it likes, too; however, any fight that involves "The Prodigy" at this advanced stage of his professional fight career has to be appealing.

The fact that it could possibly come against one of the brightest and most talented prospects in the sport, one who UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre often refers to as the future of the 170-pound division, it seems like a pretty sweet showdown.

And if it takes place at UFC 152, which is scheduled for Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 22, 2012 -- in MacDonald's native land -- it would just be the icing on a very appetizing Canadian cake.

Penn, who recently turned down a comeback fight against Josh Koscheck -- who later admitted he was encouraged to "stir up something" -- came up short as the main event headliner opposite Nick Diaz at UFC 137 back on Oct. 29, 2011, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The unanimous decision win for Diaz, which left Penn battered and bruised, sent "The Prodigy" straight into what now appears to have been just an extended break than it does a career.

MacDonald, meanwhile, has been unwavering in his commitment to the sport. The 22-year-old is riding a three-fight win streak, including a technical knockout of Che Mills in his most recent appearance at UFC 145 this past April. His only career loss was to current interim 170-pound champion Carlos Condit two years ago, but even in defeat "Ares" turned in a spirited effort that came up short late in the three-round fight.

Past will soon meets present, potentially. Who ya' got?


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