BJ Penn simply can’t turn his back on the sport that made him a living legend.
The MMA icon has found the urge anew to make a comeback as he takes on Ricardo Lamas in the Ultimate Fighting Championship: Fight Night Manila on October 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After going on a hiatus since the middle of 2014, Penn is making his return to the octagon to banner the second staging of the world’s premier MMA organization in the Philippines.
“I’m just trying to go out there and make an honest living, but besides that, (what keeps me coming back is) the beauty of the sport; it’s so fun and I never stop learning,” the 37-year-old fighter said in the press launch on Wednesday at Forbes Ballroom inside Conrad Hotel. “I just can’t get enough of it. There’s nothing better than that.”
A former lightweight and welterweight champion, Penn moves down and fights at featherweight in his return, taking on the fourth-ranked fighter in his division and make a bid for a third division title.
“I’m very excited. I’m at 145 and I’m going to climb the (featherweight) ladder. I’m going to get the belt,” Penn declared. “I’m the only one who’s hunting for a third world title and I got a great test in front of me.”
Penn, however, is coming off a three-fight skid with his last win coming as far back as 2011.
Still, Lamas is cherishing his fight against an active Hall of Famer.
“For me, it’s all about creating memories that I can pass on to my son and grandchildren,” the 34-year-old fighter said. “Now, one of the memories I’ll be able to pass on is the new 'Thrilla in Manila' with the two-division champion BJ Penn.”