At some point, we have to ask the question.
Is B.J. Penn returning to the Octagon because of his desire to compete and once again become a world champion, or is this an attempt to heal old wounds?
The answer could help in determining how he will perform against Frankie Edgar, when they do the dance for a third and final time after serving as coaches on season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), scheduled to debut on FOX Sports 1 in early 2014 (details here).
Dana White weighs in during UFC Tonight:
"B.J. is one of these guys who, I think, is fighting some demons right now, in that, if he could go back and do it all over again, I think he'd do it differently. I'll tell you again. B.J. Penn is a legend. He's been here since the day we bought the company. Me and B.J. have had our times when we butted heads on many things. (But) if he wants it, I'm going to give it to him."
But those previous title reigns seem like a distant memory.
The Hawaiian's loss to Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 5 last December capped off a dreadful run of 1-4-1, as the 34-year-old Penn struggled to keep pace with the younger, faster fighter. His only win over the last four years was a quick knockout over retired Hall-of-Famer Matt Hughes.
It's now or never.
Whether or not he can jumpstart his career in a new weight class remains to be seen. Hopefully he can win the fight against his demons, even if he's unable to get back into the win column against "The Answer," who's already up 2-0 on "The Prodigy."
Time will tell.