When Dana White convinced BJ Penn to drop down to lightweight (Penn’s natural fighting weight) from welterweight in order participate in The Ultimate Fighter Season 5 and help solidify a weight class that sorely needed a superstar, Penn agreed under the condition that he would be allowed to move back up to welterweight once he cleaned out the lightweight division.
Three dominant performances at lightweight including two championship victories have apparently convinced White that Penn is ready to move back up to welterweight where he’s dropped his past two fights; a controversial decision loss to Georges St. Pierre and a loss to Matt Hughes in which Penn dominated the fight before suffering a severe rib injury and was promptly TKO’d for the first time in his career.
“I don’t know,” White said, “BJ was here tonight all fired up cheering for GSP; they both really want that fight. I’m gonna let that fight happen.”
As for Penn’s future at 155, Penn himself has stated that he plans to defend his lightweight title while moving back and forth between light and welterweight taking on all comers in both weight class.
“I’d like to fight welterweight and lightweight at the same time if I could,” said Penn. “I’m moving up to the welterweight division and moving down to defend the lightweight title.”
Penn has been lobbying for another fight with St. Pierre since dropping a razor thin decision to St. Pierre two and a half years ago at UFC 58; but St. Pierre warned that things may be different the next time they meet in the octagon.
“I’m way more skilled than I was before,” St. Pierre told reporters in reference to his last fight with Penn.
Penn has also stated that he’s a different fighter since rededicating himself to the sport after a loss to Matt Hughes and both men have been dominant in every one of their fights against top notch opponents over the past year and a half.
A source close to the situation has informed Fightline.com that the fight will take place on December 27 of this year, corroborating a previous report that the two would meet for the UFC’s New Years Eve show so that date looks likely at this point.
We’ll have more details as this story continues to develop.