UFC Hall of Famer BJ Penn is one of just three fighters in league history to hold belts in two divisions, but he has struggled since losing his lightweight title to Frankie Edgar at UFC 112 in April of 2010. The Prodigy has gone 1-5-1 the last seven fights.
Penn retired after a loss to Frankie Edgar at the TUF 19 Finale in July of 2014. In January of 2016, he determined to fight again, at age 37. The return was cursed.
A planned fight in April at UFC 197 was delayed pending a police investigation into criminal allegations; the County of Hawaii prosecuting attorney ultimately declined to prosecute due to insufficient evidence. Then Penn was scheduled to fight Dennis Siver and then Cole Miller in June at UFC 199, but Penn was suspended for use of a medically-administered IV during a non-fight period. Then Penn was scheduled to fight Ricardo Lamas in October at UFC Fight Night 97, but the Hawaiian withdrew with an injury.
Hopefully, the fourth time is a charm.
The UFC announced that Penn will headline the first event 2017, fighting Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night: Rodríguez vs. Penn on January 15, 2017, at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. The Taekwondo specialist Rodriguez has won all five of his fights in the UFC, winning three ‘of the night’ performance bonuses. Most recently he won a Split Decision over Alex Caceres at UFC Fight Night 92 on August 6, 2016, in Salt Lake City, Utah.