B.J. Penn finally confirmed what many began had already begun to suspect: “The Prodigy” is giving mixed martial arts another go.
Penn officially announced his decision to come out of retirement during ”The MMA Hour” on Tuesday. The 37-year-old Hawaiian temporarily called it a career following a lopsided technical knockout loss to Frankie Edgar at “The Ultimate Fighter 19” finale in July 2014.
Penn, who recently spent time training at Jackson-Wink MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., also revealed that he will have renowned trainer Greg Jackson in his corner when he returns to the Octagon. Penn, a former titleholder at 170 and 155 pounds, plans to compete at featherweight.
"I want to go get that 145-pound belt,” Penn told Ariel Helwani. “That's definitely a huge motivation for me. I believe with Greg Jackson’s help, I can get that done. And I believe that I will be able to walk away as the only man with three titles in three weight divisions."
While Penn apparently has championship aspirations, he already issued a challenge to Nik Lentz to fight at UFC 197. Lentz rebuffed that potential date in a scathing response, although he did leave the door open for a future matchup with the Hawaiian at lightweight.
Penn is one of the Las Vegas-based promotion’s most revered fighters, with wins over the likes of Matt Serra, Takanori Gomi, Matt Hughes (twice), Jens Pulver, Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez. However, he has won just once in seven outings since 2010.