BJ Penn spoke candidly the other day when discussing his future and being offered a shot at the Strikeforce title , explaining where he’s at right now as far as getting back to competing in the octagon and why he turned down the Strikeforce lightweight title fight against Gilbert Melendez.
Penn explains his decision to decline the Strikeforce title fight was not because of his opponent, but because of his and his management’s belief that if he fought and won the Strikeforce title, many would interpret that as “well he couldn’t win it in the UFC, so he went to Strikeforce to win it there” , as he put it , it was a downgrade any way you looked at it.
Speaking via HDNET’s inside MMA, Penn said:
“It was right after the Nick Diaz fight. He offered me a fight against Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce. We sat down, we thought about it for a little while and we fought back and forth and it was kind of one of those things where I guess at the end of the day we just thought about it a thousand different ways and we were like, is it downgrading yourself fighting in Strikeforce and if you win the Strikeforce title people are going to say you did it because you couldn’t win the UFC title? We just kind of thought about it a thousand different ways and at the end of the day it just didn’t make sense to us.”
“I’m not really excited to jump right into a training camp right now. Me and Dana sat down and Dana said, “I see a lot of stuff and you saying you don’t want to fight anymore.” Me and him just kind of talked and just did a bunch of kind of hypothetical back-and-forth and that was it. I know Dana wants me to fight again a when I go to a lot of different places, I think subconsciously maybe sometimes, fighters, we only seize to fight to regain energy to fight again. I do get pumped up about it when I go to different places and people say, “Come on you got to fight again, you gotta fight again.” I don’t know, I’m enjoying training right now and you never know what the future holds.
I mean if Dana put something together and says, “Hey, you want to do this?” You never know what could happen. Being a competitor, you always have that itch. What it is, is that it’s tough. The training camps are tough going and through that and going through the different things and all the different personalities you gotta deal with over time. I mean, I still look at some of the guys up there and, of course, being a competitor I think to myself, “I can beat that guy or I can do well with that guy.” It’s just a tough question and I can’t give any solid question (answer) either way right now.”
It does sound like Penn is warming to the idea of returning to competition, but right now it looks like it’s more about who he’s fights rather than just fighting for the sake of competition, with the right fight, we should see Penn return, whether that’s at 155 or 170 will stay a mystery until he decides to return.
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