Australian MMA news source Fight News Australia picked up an interesting bit of news from the Sydney Morning Herald today. According to the article, Australian lightweight fighter George Sotiropoulos is currently being groomed for a title shot and could face top lightweight Kenny Florian or former UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn in his next fight to determine whether or not he will get a shot at the belt.
The article states that the tentative plan is to pit Sotiropoulos up against either Penn or Florian this November and, should the 10th Planet-trained fighter advance past either man, there are apparently plans in place to have George fight for the title sometime in February in Sydney, Australia.
The Geelong, Victoria, Australia native was a member on the sixth installment of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV. After a promising start on the show, Sotiropoulos was defeated in the semi-finals match via knockout by Tommy Speer; the defeat was somewhat controversial, however, as Sotiropoulos suffered from an inadvertent thumb poke to the eye. Sotiropoulos would earn another shot in the UFC and after racking up two stoppage wins at welterweight, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt would make the drop to 155lbs. Sotiropoulos has remained undefeated since moving to lightweight, scoring impressive wins over George Roop, Jason Dent, Joe Stevenson, and most recently, Kurt Pellegrino.
BJ Penn and Kenny Florian, once considered to be the two best fighters in the lightweight division, are currently both at a crossroads. Penn has lost two in a row to current champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and Florian just lost in a title eliminator bout to current number one lightweight contender Gray Maynard. A match up between either man and Sotiropoulos would help provide a clearer view of the current state of the lightweight title picture.