Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight and welterweight champion, B.J. Penn, has been showing all the signs of making a mixed martial arts (MMA) comeback.
Consider it official.
After expressing his desire to fight Nik Lentz in this passionate interview, a bout that was ultimately rejected by "The Carny," the Hawaiian made the trip down to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to to train at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, one of the best fights camps in the world.
"The Prodigy" elaborates to The MMA Hour:
"I always dream of being the champion. Once you're the champ, you can't get that thought out of your head. Me and Greg had a talk. I could tell by his excitement that he really wanted to work with me and I showed up over here and he seems like he is happy with what he sees. I told Greg, 'If I can't do this in any way shape or form or you feel B.J. doesn't belong in the ring, please let me know.' And he is very confident we can get something done. And when someone like that who has so many champions himself, and done as well as he has in the sport, when he tells me that he feels I can go out and beat these guys, it gives me a lot of confidence and I'm surrounded by a lot of great people in the gym. It's a really exciting time for. Greg is bringing me in and teaching me and showing me a lot of things, and I am feeling really good about everything. I'm going through with this. It's going to be fun. The motivation, I want to go get that 145-pound belt. That is a huge motivation for me. I believe with Greg Jackson's help I can get that done and walk away the only man with three titles in three separate divisions."
So, about that beef with Lentz (which started here):
"He went and took a picture on Instagram and then he said I will fight B.J. 'anytime,' but I think he forgot what the word 'anytime' means. He says he's a vocabulary genius, but he forgot why 'anytime' means. Truth be told, I could care less if he writes 50 poems, I don't care what he thinks. I will tell him right now. Nik, I will fight you at 155 pounds since you keep crying about the weight. Let's do it. I always direct message him and let him know no one gives a crap about what he says and they just want to see someone get his ass kicked. He's going to lose out on the biggest opportunity he ever had because I will forget who he is. I'll forget he's alive, we know he's not going to run into me later, so, Nik, you want to tell everyone how hard your life is and how spoiled I am and this and that, here is your chance to hurt a spoiled kid since you're jealous. But is he going to do it, no? He's either too scared or too smart."
UFC President Dana White confirmed Penn's Octagon return, but does not yet have a date or opponent in mind. While a fighter as decorated as "The Prodigy" can probably slide right into any fight he wants, I would imagine a grudge match against Lentz would be as good a place to start as any.
Your move, "Carny."