A rubber match between former UFC Welterweight Champions Matt Hughes and BJ Penn for UFC 123 was first reported by CagePotato.com yesterday and was then confirmed by MMAFighting.com’s reporter extraordinaire Ariel Helwani. The bout has not yet been officially confirmed by the UFC so anyone that needs more convincing need only read Matt Hughes’ boxing coach Matt Pena’s recent post on The Underground mixed martial arts forum, title “Hughes Called…”
“As he does whenever Dana gives him a call. Immediately when he said Dana called, I asked, ‘OK, who’s next!’ Cause Matt doesnt ever call to tell me about Dana’s small talk. Matt told me that Dana asked him to fight BJ Penn. I laughed a little bit at Matt, making fun of him having to cancel some of his hunting trips. He laughed and asked what I thought of the match-up. I gave him my opinion, and he shared a tad bit of what his thoughts were, followed by the need to talk to his wife about it before getting back to Dana. That was two days ago, and now I see it leaking… I haven’t gotten any confirmation from Hughes yet. But it is something being talked about and worked on. I’m sure there are talks on all three sides that have to be done before I get the green light!”
Penn and Hughes are heavily rumored to be putting the cap on their fight trilogy this November 20th at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit suburb Auburn Hills, Michigan. That event, UFC 123, is also expected to feature a light heavyweight match up between former 205lb Champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. Hughes and Penn have obviously met twice before, with the first match resulting in Hughes’ shocking relinquishment of the welterweight title he had held for five consecutive defenses to the Hilo kid. The second match up went Hughes’ way; after dealing with Penn’s aggressive sub attempts and successful striking exchanges, Hughes trapped Penn’s arms and pounded away at him until the ref in charge was forced to call the bout. The rubber match will take place some four years after their last meeting.