He will do so against red hot featherweight prospect Yair Rodriguez in the five-round main event of the UFC’s latest trip to Phoenix.
In advance of this anticipated showdown, Penn spoke with MMAFighting.com about Rodriguez, and how he thinks it will all go down.
Penn has said on several occasions that he believes Rodriguez asked for this fight. Though Rodriguez has refuted these claims, Penn is sticking to his guns.
“I THINK YAIR AND HIS MANAGER SAW ME TRAINING AT THE GYM [AT JACKSON-WINKELJOHN] AND THOUGHT, ‘THIS GUY DOESN’T HAVE IT ANYMORE. LET’S FIGHT THIS GUY. HE’S A BIG NAME, AND LET’S TRY TO MAKE OUR NAME OFF HIS.’ AND THAT’S EXACTLY HOW THIS FIGHT GOT PUT TOGETHER.”
“SOME PEOPLE FROM THE GYM SAID, ‘HEY, YAIR IS A P*SSY, HE’S GOING TO TRY TO FIGHT YOU BECAUSE HE THINKS YOU’RE OLDER,’ AND THIS AND THAT. ‘HIS MANAGER IS TRYING TO PUSH FOR THE FIGHT.’ AND I GO, REALLY, HUH? I WAS TALKING TO MY BUDDIES IN ALBUQUERQUE, AND THEN THE UFC CALLED ME TWO WEEKS LATER AND OFFERED ME YAIR. THAT’S WHAT IT WAS.”
However the fight came about, Penn is confident that he’ll defy the betting odds and take out his highly regarded young foe.
“I’M A FAN OF EVERYBODY, I RESPECT EVERYONE. I’M PROUD OF EVERYBODY WHO DECIDES TO TAKE THIS PATH IN LIFE AND CHOOSES THIS PROFESSION, AND I THINK HE’S VERY GOOD, A VERY SOLID OPPONENT,” PENN EXPLAINED. “BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE SURPRISED WHEN I GET OUT THERE. IT’S GOING TO LOOK LIKE A PROFESSIONAL AGAINST AN AMATEUR. THAT’S WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, AND YAIR IS GOING TO BE SURPRISED, HIS COACHES AREGOING TO BE SURPRISED. THEY’RE GOING BE LIKE, ‘OH, I THOUGHT THIS WE WERE GOING TO COME BETWEEN THIS EASY FIGHTER AND HIS BIG NAME.’ BUT WE’RE GOING TO SEE. THEY’RE GOING TO SEE.”
How do you think Sunday’s BJ Penn vs. Yair Rodriguez scrap will go? Sound off, PENN Nation!