It looks like former UFC two-division champ BJ Penn‘s return to the octagon will have to wait a little longer. The 37-year-old Hawaiian was expected to return at UFC 196 on March 5 against an unnamed opponent, though the rumor was it would be Dennis Siver. Now the fight will take place in April according to a new report.
“I thought the fight guaranteed was going to happen because the UFC, they set up medicals for me to do,” Penn stated in an interview with BJPenn.com. “I did the medicals and they were sending a film crew down and we were getting all that together and I assumed we were setting up the fight, and that might have been what was happening. But, at the end of the day, Sean Shelby (UFC matchmaker) called me and said it would be more convenient for all of us to move the fight to April 23rd.”
April 23 marks the date for UFC 197 in Las Vegas. The event will be headlined with Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 2 light heavyweight title fight, and a bantamweight title fight between Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo.
Penn has found a resurgence of spirit training under Mike Winkeljohn and Greg Jackson in Albuquerque and said he intends to remain there immersed in martial arts training despite the change in date for his fight.
“You know what? I’m going to stay here the whole way out and train,” said Penn. “You have heard ‘what you feed the most, grows the biggest,’ and I’m going to stay here and immerse myself in the martial arts and see how good I can get. … We know that we kind of just started working together and we were just going to go out and do anything to get the victory. You know, Greg Jackson is real excited about it and we have more time for us to prepare.”
Though still unconfirmed by the UFC that his opponent will be Siver, Penn said his opponent will remain the same for UFC 197.