Penn Gunning for UFC Abu Dhabi Slot

By Loretta Hunt Jan 6, 2010
UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn has asked for his next fight to take place at the promotion’s yet-to-be-announced UFC 112 event on April 10 in Abu Dhabi.

“We talked to Dana White. We were trying to get on the March 27 card … but that card already had two title fights on it,” Penn said in a video interview on his official site Wednesday. “It looks like we’ll be fighting April 10 in Abu Dhabi. Nothing’s signed, so (it’s) a tentative date …”

UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will defend his crown against Dan Hardy at UFC 111 on March 27 at the Prudential Canter in Newark, N.J. Frank Mir and Shane Carwin will vie for the UFC interim heavyweight title as well.

Penn, 31, battered challenger Diego Sanchez en route to a fifth-round stoppage at UFC 107 last December in Memphis, Tenn. Gray Maynard, who fights Nate Diaz this Monday at UFC Fight Night 20 in Fairfax, Va., has been recognized as the top contender for Penn’s crown at this time. Penn, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, would be considered a heavy favorite in the potential bout.

UFC President Dana White said last Saturday that the promotion’s Middle Eastern debut in the United Arab Emirate’s capital was close to fruition. Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes is expected to headline the event against Renzo Gracie, who will be making his Octagon debut. Sheik Tahnoon, of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family, is a Renzo Gracie jiu-jitsu black belt.
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