B.J. Penn promises that he will fight at UFC 196 -- even if it won’t be against Nik Lentz as originally desired.
According to a report on Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, Penn guaranteed that he will compete at the March 5 event in Las Vegas. While Penn’s participation and opponent have yet to be formally announced, it appears that Dennis Siver has been targeted to face “The Prodigy” in a featherweight duel. Penn, however, would not comment on a potential opponent, only acknowledging that he will definitely be on the UFC 196 bill.
UFC 196 is headlined by a lightweight title tilt between Rafael dos Anjos and Conor McGregor. In the co-main event, Holly Holm will defend the bantamweight strap against Miesha Tate.
Penn recently announced that he was coming out of retirement and would train under the guidance of Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, N.M. While “The Prodigy” initially challenged Lentz to a fight, “The Carny” emphatically denied that request. Penn hasn’t competed since “The Ultimate Fighter 19” finale, where he suffered a third-round technical knockout loss to Frankie Edgar. The 37-year-old Hawaiian has won just one of his last seven Octagon appearances.
Siver, who is also 37, enters the matchup on a two-fight losing streak. He suffered a second-round technical knockout loss to Conor McGregor one year ago before dropping a three-round verdict to Tatsuya Kawajiri at UFC Fight Night Berlin on June 20. The Russian-born German is 11-8 over the course of a promotional tenure that began in 2007.