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Move to middleweight ruled out for B.J. Penn

During a special Q&A session on Tuesday at Fort Bragg that was held just prior to weigh-ins for “UFC Fight Night 16: UFC Fight for the Troops,” UFC President Dana White was cool to the idea of B.J. Penn moving up to middleweight to compete against Anderson Silva.

In fact, White went so far as to completely rule out the possibility of Penn going up in weight past the 170 pound welterweight threshold.

White stated several times during the session that while he believes Penn is talented enough to compete in heavier weight classes, he feels the Hilo native is at his best when he fights at lightweight or welterweight.

He added that he has spent a lot of time over the years trying to discourage Penn from competing at heavier weights and that he feels Penn is finally coming around to his way of thinking.

White said that a big reason for Penn’s hasty departure from the UFC in 2004 that ultimately ended up in litigation was due partly due to philosophical differences over whether Penn should move up and fight heavier fighters.

He went on to express his belief that Penn did not look good at times competing at middleweight and light heavyweight under the Rumble on the Rock and K-1 banners and that he fell out of the consensus top-ten pound-for-pound rankings. White also offered a theory that Penn’s cardio may have even been hurt by the rapid increase and decrease in fighting weight.

Penn is currently scheduled to return to the Octagon on Jan. 31 when he takes on UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. Already the promotion’s current lightweight champion, Penn would be the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in separate weight classes simultaneously if he is able to defeat St. Pierre.

  • benjamink says:

    if penn dominates for a little bit and anderson silva keeps on as well, there is no way a fight between the two would not happen.
    I dont care what dana says. It would happen. (maybe in a year and a half /two year time period….with everything going penns way.)

    although it is pure enjoyment to watch anderson dominate his opponets, it would be cool to see him challenged a bit.



  • JOe K. says:

    The Penn/St. Pierre fight should not be a title fight. Penn did not earn a welter weight title shot.

    Its also unfair to St. Pierre because Penn has little to lose where Georges has a lot to lose. Not to mention if Penn wins not only did it screw over lightweights it will then screw over welterweights.

  • Jeff L says:

    “White said that a big reason for Penn’s hasty departure from the UFC in 2004 that ultimately ended up in litigation was due partly due to philosophical differences over whether Penn should move up and fight heavier fighters.”

    And this is the only reason BJ is getting a title shot now. Lest he take his ball and go home again. Weak.

  • Kansas says:

    People who say BJ Penn didn’t earn this title fight are missing the point. This fight is with two of the best fighters on the planet. Who cares if a couple of dudes that no one other than real fans know about have to wait a couple of months for a fight? The BJ-GSP fight is so much more interesting than BJ vs. Florian or GSP vs Alves.

    Why do people care about the titles so much, anyway? I’m more interested in seeing good fights than worry about some dude who ‘earned’ a chance at the title have to wait.

  • Cathedron says:

    It’s absolutely stupid for BJ to think he can fight in so many weight classes when he’s obviously a natural 155. He would look bad and possibly hurt himself. And yet, I really want to see that fight.

  • Rich says:

    Ehh… I can’t say I agree with Kansas. As much as it pains me to say, sure their first fight is probably one of the best fights ever, and these two are arguably 2 of the best p4p ers in the business, I am really curious about the other fights more. Why do people care about titles so much? IT’s what they are fighting for! It says that they are the best at what they do and that is why they fight. They want to be the best. Florian looks very impressive right now, and i’m curious to see that fight between him and BJ. I knew he was going to destroy the over rated but exciting Roger Huerta, but what he did against Joe Stevenson floored me. I did not think he was going to be able to take him out with such ease. If BJ wins the fight, then what? Will he fight Alves first or Florian? Will he drop his LW title and just pursue fighting at WW for new challenges? I personally think GSP will win the fight, so it won’t really matter, but BJ has a chance. Alves’ stand up game is tight right now, and it might give GSP trouble, although GSP will probably be able to take him down and impose his will against him. BUT Alves is HUGE! He is the toughest to take down at that weight class, which makes for an great potential match up. It just screws up the whole title pictures and puts those weight classes in limbo waiting for this fight to pan out. Good thing these fighters don’t make the kind of money boxers do, or else we would probably be waiting years for this situation to settle itself out.

    NOw that i’ve gotten that out the way… I AM STOKED TO SEE THIS MATCH UP! This has fight of the year written all over it… and if their last fight is any indication, we won’t be dissapointed by the fight.

  • Lincoln says:

    Didn’t BJ once shit his pants in a fight.

  • rob says:

    What’s wrong with a good old SUPERFIGHT in the UFC? They have interim titles – even if that isn;t a viable option – believe it or not – not everyone who fights for a title earns a shot……

  • Simon Cason says:

    Tim Silvia shit his pants during a fight, but I’ve never heard B.J. laying a brick, just doesn’t seem right…I’m not sure how Big Timmay didn’t drop a load before, during, and/or after the Fedor fight.

  • Jackyl says:

    If a fighter can compete at the designated weight, then let him. Case in point: look at what Manny Pacquiao has done. He started as a FLYWEIGHT. He totally whipped De La Hoya at 145! What would be wrong with BJ holding titles in both weight classes and defending them both? I’d like to see Anderson Silva do the same thing. Think about it. It’s only a 15 pound difference and most fighters cut down to their weight. So if BJ walks around at say…..165…. it’s not a stretch for him to compete at either weight. They could also do an interim title for the respictive weight class and have BJ fight whenever he is ready. Hell. They just let Koscheck have two fights really close. Anderson Silva has been quoted as saying he wants to fight more. These are the fights we want to see. The UFC should give them to us. I would shit a brick myself if Anderson Silva went up and got the 205 title. That would just be awesome.

  • revjames says:

    BJ is a former WW Champ who lost a quasi-controversial split decision against the current dominant WW Champ. He has owned the top guys at LW and is moving up for a Fight of the Ages, while both of them are in their prime.

    Anyone who thinks he doesn’t “deserve” a shot at GSP is out of their minds. What, are we supposed to risk losing the best match up in history so that Thiago Alves can get GSP first? Please. Alves isn’t going anywhere and neither is Florian.

    The belt situation really isn’t a big deal as this fight is bigger than the belts. The winner will be on the top of the mountain with Fedor and Anderson. If BJ loses than he goes back down to LW. No harm in that. If he wins, then perhaps he relinquishes the LW belt and takes care of the top guys at WW (which is what I think he should do).

    The only guy at LW for him is Florian, which anyway you look at it he should absolutely own (though Kenny has come a long, long way). I don’t see BJ hanging around LW any longer than putting away Florian, after which he will try to stay on the top of the WW hill.

    Some temporary confusion in the belt situation is very little to ask for to get this fight. This is a key, key match up that must happen. Mma fans rejoice that some #1 contender BS didn’t hold this fight up.

    Now if GSP can just make it to the cage without getting injured, BJ will show us who the better fighter really is.

  • Cuppa says:

    I like Penn, but GSP will destroy him and Penn going up to 185 will be a moot point. Skillswise, the two are more or less equal, but GSP is so much bigger and stronger, and unless he gets poked in the eye again, it will be a beatdown!

  • revjames says:

    Penn is going win the stand up battle, that will be the story of this fight. He is going to hurts GSP on his feet big time and then finish him on the ground. The size difference will be a non factor and never spoken of again after this fight.

  • tyler says:

    That can’t be true about B.J shitting hisself.


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