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Dana White: BJ Penn to fight winner of Sean Sherk/Hermes Franca

BJ Penn will fight the winner of the bout between UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca, according to a statement from UFC President Dana White on "The Hot List" -- an ESPNews program -- this afternoon.

Sherk and Franca are scheduled to meet at UFC 73: "Stacked" on July 7 at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. It will be Sherk's first defense since beating Kenny Florian for the vacant title at UFC 64 in October 2006. He has been recovering from shoulder surgery since that time.

Penn -- a former welterweight champion -- recently submitted Jens Pulver at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale this past weekend. It was his first trip down to the 155-pound division in years.

After the fight, BJ was noncommittal and unsure about his future in the division -- he typically fights at 170 pounds. However, it seems as though -- for now -- he will stick around for another bout.

Why not ... he looked fit and dominant against "Lil Evil."

If and when he does challenge for the belt -- and he happens to win it -- things will get extremely interesting. Penn has talked in the past about owning every belt in the UFC, as well as his intentions to fight rival Matt Hughes for the third and final time.

Putting the cart before the horse here ... but it's impossible not to think about.

Regardless, should be a great fight between Penn and whoever -- Sherk or Franca -- later this year.

For a segment of the video head over to -- a clip that also features Mirko Cro Cop, who is now confirmed to face Cheick Kongo (thanks to UFCmania reader "TheWiseOne" for the assist).

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