With a win over Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 74: "Respect" on August 25, season two welterweight winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Joe Stevenson, could find himself fighting BJ Penn for the vacant 155-pound title later this year, according to a recent Yahoo!Sports article.
Of course, Sean Sherk would have to be stripped of his belt for the scenario to pan out. And that matter won't be resolved until sometime in October at the earliest when Sherk appeals his suspension for using illegal steroids at UFC 73 before the California State Athletic Commission (CSAS).
Nonetheless, this report sheds some insight on what might happen if the findings on Sherk are upheld.
Here's a snip mash:
"UFC President Dana White may have to find someone to fight B.J. Penn for the vacant lightweight title if Sherk is stripped.... White said he hadn't made up his mind what to do because he said he believes Sherk's denials, but he said if Sherk is suspended by the commission, he would probably strip him of the belt ... [he] concedes that Stevenson may get a shot at the UFC lightweight championship later this year pending the resolution of a steroids complaint filed against champion Sean Sherk by the California Athletic Commission."
While not set in stone, the recent developments in the division have raised the stakes significantly for Stevenson -- beat "Batman" and he's (possibly) fast tracked himself to a title shot against the Hawaiian.
Here's a snip from "Daddy:"
"The motivating thing for me is, pushing myself to be better every day knowing that I'm getting near that (title shot) and that it's becoming more and more of a reality for me. Now is the time more than ever I can't afford a slip. I totally understand that. Sometimes, when you have a bad fight or whatever, you say to yourself, 'Well, there's another time.' But I can't afford right now to think that way. I have to be on top of it. I have to be impressive in everything I do now, because I know my chance might depend upon it."
The 155-pound title fight was booked for UFC 78 on November 17 from the Prudential Arena in Newark, N.J. It's unclear at this time whether or not that remains the case with Sherk's appeal just one month beforehand.