Ever since BJ Penn returned to the UFC welterweight division, fans around the world have wondered how the former double division champion will readjust to 170 pounds. Their questions were put to rest last November when, at UFC 123, Penn knocked out multiple time 170lb champ Matt Hughes in just 21 seconds. He followed this up with a controversial draw over title contender Jon Fitch in February.
Most recently, the popular Hawiian has been promoted to the main event of UFC 137 on Saturday to face ex-Strikeforce welterweight king, Nick Diaz, after welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre was forced from his fight with Carlos Condit due to a knee injury.
In his recent blog with Yahoo Sports, the former double-divisional champ discussed the situation with GSP. “When it comes to GSP, we have had our problems. I said what I said about him in the past, but if he felt like he had to pull out of the fight that’s what it is.”
Penn also talked about a slew of news from last week, saying “It (was) a crazy week. I found out about Georges St. Pierre’s knee injury keeping him and Condit off the UFC 137 card, and me and Diaz being the new main event when I saw it on BJPenn.com. Then (the other day) we had a crazy press conference call where Nick Diaz wasn’t on until 40 minutes into it.”
On whether or not he found the behavior insulting, Penn explained, “I didn’t find it disrespectful; I think it is Nick being Nick, and he’s not gonna change. He’s going to do what he’s going to do, and not do what he’s not going to do. That is cool. I know he will show up for the fight and it will be a great fight in the new UFC 137 main event.”
BJ also discussed the possibility of getting a title shot if he beats Diaz come Saturday night, writing, “The funny thing is that title shots – and who gets title shots – are all about timing. If I had beaten Jon Fitch in Sydney in February and not had a draw, I would have gotten a title shot. But now, even if I beat Nick Diaz, I may not get a title shot.” He continued to say. “I realize now it is all about timing, and the timing may not work out for me to get the right title shot unless GSP heals fast and fights Carlos in the next couple of months.”
But he was keen to say that he was not looking past Diaz, saying, “But beating Nick Diaz, title fight or no title fight, is a big deal. He’s a great fighter and dangerous anywhere. I won’t disrespect him, the fans or myself by not concentrating 100 percent on this fight at UFC 137.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC