It seems like the storylines for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bouts are continuing to grow more and more complex, as the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) evolves.
With fighters calling each other out and engaging in "Twitter wars," fans can count on months of drama and posturing before a fight ever gets close to becoming a reality. The latest soap opera star, so to speak, appears to be former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion B.J. Penn, who announced his return from retirement, earlier in the week.
"The Prodigy" will be taking on Rory MacDonald, in a fight that is rumored to take place at UFC 152, in Toronto, Ontario, on Sept. 22, 2012.
There have been several reports regarding how the fight actually came together in the first place. At first, it appeared as though Penn was merely responding to being called out by MacDonald. In retrospect, it seems as though it may be the other way around.
Regardless of the circumstances leading up to the fight being confirmed, it's clear that Penn was intrigued by this fight, in a way that he was not captivated by fights with Josh Koscheck or Gilbert Melendez. In an interview with "MMA Uncensored Live," Penn spoke to why this fight was worth coming out of retirement for.
Check it out, after the jump:
"Rory's the man right now. He's got a lot of hype around him. Also, he comes from Tri-Star Gym, with Firas (Zahabi) and that whole team. Bygones, the past is the past. No bad blood. But I want another crack at them. I want another crack at the team, and Rory's the man right now. Everybody knows who he is."
In the segment, Penn commented on whether or not he saw MacDonald as a sort of consolation prize, since a fight with Georges St. Pierre doesn't look like a possibility, any time soon.
Not according to B.J.:
"You know, I'm not here trying to go for a title fight or anything or this and that. I don't wanna belittle Rory and say he's the next best thing or anything like that. He's a great fighter. He's doing a lot of things."
Penn talked about the nearly eleven-year age difference between he and MacDonald. He's aware of the disparity, but if you ask him, he still feels like he's got a "puncher's chance:"
"You know, I am very old, compared to Rory, but you know what? I'm still 33, and I've still got my reflexes. I think that's the number one thing that matters. As long as I've got my reflexes, I've got a chance. We're gonna see how this thing unfolds."
Finally, B.J. made a point of saying just how seriously he is taking this fight. No one wants to go out on a loss, and if it's up to him, he won't be doing so. He's completely cognizant of the talent-level of his upcoming opponent, as well as the quality training that he undergoes:
"He's got a great coach in Firas. I watched them working together on some videos, and Firas has him punching very accurate, not over-punching too hard or any of that. He's got a good stand-up coach, and Rory's grappling is very good."