The UFC officially announced today that BJ Penn will defend his lightweight title against Diego Sanchez in the main event of UFC 107, which takes place December 12 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn.
“In this sport it sometimes takes years for fighters to find the weight class where they’re at their best,” UFC President Dana White said. “I don’t think there’s any question that BJ Penn and Diego Sanchez have finally found their homes at 155 pounds, making the UFC 107 main event a fight between the best Penn and Sanchez we’ve ever seen. BJ hasn’t lost in this weight class in years, and Diego has looked unstoppable in his lightweight fights, and when these two meet in the center of the Octagon, it’s going to make our first trip to Memphis one fight fans will never forget.”
The event marks the debut of the UFC in Tennessee.
“Thanks to the vision of our owner, Michael Heisley and the diligence and hard work of our staff, the help of state legislators and the UFC, we have cleared a path for UFC to make its way to the state of Tennessee and the city of Memphis,” said Steve Zito, Senior Vice President, Arena Operations and Entertainment for FedExForum. “By helping to bring UFC to the state of Tennessee we will have the opportunity to continue to showcase the city of Memphis and FedExForum as a world-class arena.”
Penn and Sanchez are both undefeated at light heavyweight, and both are coming off of major victories. Penn recently dominated Kenny Florian en route to defending his title at UFC 101 this past August.
“I can’t wait to defend the title,” Penn said. “I know what kind of competitor Diego Sanchez is and I am training very hard. This will be a good test.”
The fight will be Sanchez’s first title fight since joining the organization after winning the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.
“I’ve always wanted to face the best,” Sanchez said. “I’ve worked so hard for this and now I finally have a shot at the title. I’m training like I’ve never trained before and I expect an all-out war.”
In the co-main event, former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir will face top-ranked heavyweight Cheick Kongo.
“Cheick Kongo is one of the best strikers in the UFC,” Mir said. “I’m coming off a loss and I definitely want to get back on the road to the title. I think this will be a difficult challenge.”
Likewise, Kongo noted that he is expecting a tough challenge in Mir.
“In the UFC, you can’t take any opponents lightly,” Kongo said. “But when you face a former champion such as Frank Mir, you’re expecting one of the toughest fights of your career. It’s going to be a classic.”
The UFC also confirmed a welterweight bout between fellow Brazilians Thiago “Pitbull” Alves and Paulo Thiago, two of the division’s top competitors.