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BJ Penn Embraces Role As A Target For Fighters

BJ Penn has a pivotal fight approaching this month, as the former UFC lightweight champion will meet Nick Diaz in the co-main event of UFC 137: St-Pierre vs. Condit.

If Penn is successful against Diaz, it puts him among the top contenders to face the winner of the main event, which is Georges St-Pierre defending his UFC welterweight crown against Carlos Condit. A loss, however, and Penn’s future could be in doubt.

For “The Prodigy,” he wouldn’t have it any other way. Since dropping back-to-back bouts to Frankie Edgar – losing his title in the first fight and failing to regain it in the second – Penn has moved back to 170 pounds, finishing Matt Hughes and fighting Jon Fitch to a draw.

“I’ve asked myself that question a thousand times (retiring from MMA), and I look at everything else there is in the world to do, besides retirement, and I looked at all my other options,” said Penn, in a recent interview with, “and I like this one a lot more.”

The 32-year-old is a two-time champion in the UFC, but has been a polarizing figure when it comes to the public. Still, his status as a top draw has never faltered, and the target placed on him because of his past success continues to grow.

“If I’m not in that position, I’ll be bummed out. If someone says, ‘You know what, I don’t care about fighting BJ Penn,’ that would hurt my feelings,” Penn said. “There’s just something about BJ Penn that gets people amped up. He might disappoint you, he might make you happy, he might make you cry, he might make you jump out of your chair, but he’ll do something to you.”