UFC Hall-of-Famer BJ Penn cleared any doubt of his intentions of a comeback from retirement Wednesday, telling KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello: “One-hundred percent, I’m going to fight again.”
The Prodigy, who is in the midst of a 180-day suspension for illegal intravenous infusion, plans to return to the octagon after his sentence with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ends on Sept. 25.
“The fight now should be around November,” Penn said. “That’s when we’re looking to come back, so we’re going to talk to the UFC and 100-percent, we want to get back out there, 145 (pounds), and we’re gonna do this. See where this takes us.”
Penn hasn’t fought since losing to Frankie Edgar in July 2014. He began training in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at Jackson-Wink MMA Academy back in December to fight at UFC 199 in June.
The 37-year-old thinks that more training could better prepare him for his comeback.
“It definitely could be a positive, because I’ve been away for so long,” he said. “I’ve been retired for awhile, so give me more time to get in there and train again, so come September, I’ll head up to Albuquerque and get in there with Greg Jackson and all of the top-level guys and see what’s going on.”
Not only has Penn stayed on the mind of UFC president Dana White when it comes to future match-making, the Hilo native was named by White in a recent TMZ Sports interview as one of the most underachieving athletes in the organization’s history.
Despite his enshrinement into the UFC Hall of Fame and being one of only two fighters in UFC history to earn titles in two weight divisions, White thinks that Penn “would go back and do things differently if he could.”
“It’s flattering and it makes you sad at the same time,” Penn responded. “It’s strange for me to talk, because it’s like one side we’re talking about this Hall-of-Fame career guy, and on the other side, I’m just trying to prove myself.
“You got to talk about two different people, two different BJs at times. It’s his opinion and he’s entitled to that, and all I can do for my side is get in there and show them,” he added. “Maybe Dana White will look back and be like, ‘You know what? Look at him now. That guy really did reach his full potential.'”
The UFC is planning one of their marquee events of the year Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which will be the organization’s first bout held in the state of New York.