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B.J. Penn wouldn’t turn down fight for UFC Hawaii - ‘It would mean everything’

UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez v Penn Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With featherweight champion Max Holloway leading the way, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has never been closer to hosting a show in Hawaii.

For years the promotion has failed to commit on bringing the Octagon to “The Aloha State,” citing many reasons like weather and travel, but now seem destined to host a massive event 2,471 miles off the coast of California. Luckily for UFC, the roster is home to a plethora of Hawaiian-born fighters, some of whom carry a ton of significance in the land of mixed martial arts (MMA).

While Holloway would be the headlining act and the fighter that draws the massive crowds to the Central Pacific islands, a UFC Hawaii show would not be complete without former lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn, who remains the most decorated MMA fighter to ever come out of the 50th state.

“I wouldn’t go around talking to the UFC and asking them to get me a fight somewhere, but if something happened and the UFC came to Hawaii,” Penn told Honolulu television station KHON earlier this week, “I’m still young enough to do it. I don’t see how I can turn that particular fight down.”

Penn, 39, is regarded as one of the greatest fighters in UFC history, evident by his title victories in two separate weight classes. However, “Prodigy” has fallen on rough times late into his career, losing his last five Octagon appearances. Still, Penn is motivated to show up for his hometown folks and take part in a historic event for the state of Hawaii.

“That would be unbelievable,” the former UFC champ said. “You see all kinds of rumors and stuff and the last time I was in Vegas I saw the MMA commission from Hawaii and someone representing Aloha Stadium up there so it’s interesting. I would love to see something happen. It would mean everything. Like I said though, I’m not even fighting so maybe I just sit back and watch.”

Despite his recent struggles and overall irrelevancy at this point in his career, Penn is a MMA legend and still treated as one wherever he goes. Leaving him off of an inaugural card in Hawaii would be like forgetting to invite Michael Jordan to a Chicago Bulls reunion. It just doesn’t make sense, or feel right for that matter, which is exactly why UFC would pull all of the strings it had to to get “Prodigy” on a hometown card.

Of course, we’re assuming Penn is serious about returning to camp, putting in the work that is needed at this level, and finding motivation amidst a career-worst losing streak.

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