Retirement was no place for former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn. Penn announced his retirement after UFC on FOX 8 where he lost to Rory MacDonald in the welterweight division. That fight was in December of 2012 and word of a return for Penn was relatively quiet.
Then came the announcement of his return to the UFC, this time in the featherweight division. His return fight will be against longtime rival Frankie Edgar, the man who took his belt back at UFC 112 in 2010. The two former champs will coach opposite one another on the Ultimate Fighter Season 19.
Penn has come under fire in the past for not being fully prepared for fights and whether or not that was the case, the most recent photos of Penn show a much slimmer fighter.
Penn hasn’t fought at lightweight since 2010 in the second fight against Edgar in which he lost. It will be interesting to see what shape he is in come weigh-in’s.
A ‘motivated BJ Penn’ is often used as a pseudo-joke given his undeniable tenacity when he is in shape and prepared to fight.
The most recent photo is one with bantamweight champion Renan Barao and Jair Lourenço, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach at Nova Uniáo. He trains there with both Barao and featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Nova Uniáo was the home for Penn when he compete in jiu-jitsu and the gym promoted Penn to his black belt in 1999.
While no official date or venue has been set for their third fight, Penn and Edgar are expected to fight in the summer of 2014.
— Jair Lourenço (@jairlourenco) January 10, 2014