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Pic: BJ Penn partners with Greg Jackson, challenges Nik Lentz to UFC 197 showdown

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Could B.J. Penn's return to combat sports actually happen?

Based on this picture "The Prodigy" posted to his Instagram account alongside Greg Jackson -- one of the greatest minds in mixed martial arts (MMA) -- he may already be walking the comeback trail.

Take a look:

We coming !! @ufc @danawhiteufc

A photo posted by @bjpenn on

We coming !! @ufc @danawhiteufc

Penn retired from the sport of MMA after suffering his third loss to Frankie Edgar at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale in 2014, which also marked his third straight defeat.

Just a few months ago, however, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight and welterweight champion declared he'd be willing to step back into the Octagon to put a beating on Nik Lentz.

And the two have been going at each other -- verbally -- ever since.

Jackson is "optimistic" about the future and revealed that "Baby J" is still currently in Albuquerque, New Mexico, getting some training with his world class team.

"I'm pleased with how the meeting went and very optimistic about the future," Jackson told MMA Fighting. "BJ doesn't have any specific fight plans, but we have [our own] plans."

That said, Penn took to Instagram once again to reveal his latest fight plans, challenging Lentz to meet him at the upcoming UFC 197 pay-per-view (PPV) event on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


@niklentz this is a formal challenge for Nik Lentz to meet me in the octagon March 5th in Las Vegas. Nik you wrote a silly poem about me making fun of me, you said stuff about me and my parents, and you been making a #bringpennback hashtag, I ask you today to be a man and back up everything you said, talk the talk walk the walk , uncle BJ is mad already #youout #bringpennback #hiloboys #hawaii #allhawaii

It just got real.

Of course, UFC 197 is already looking stacked, as Conor McGregor is set to take on lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, while Holly Holm defends her belt against Miesha Tate (details).

As evidenced by Andrei Arlovski's recent resurgence, Jackson and Co. seem to have the recipe to be able to turn a fighter's career around. Plus, when you add the fact that Jackson Winkeljohn MMA is full of former and current world champions, it's easy to see why Penn would migrate to the 505 to get some pointers.

Question is, will it all equate to one more successful run for one of the best to ever step foot inside the eight-walled cage?