At UFC 46 in 2004, BJ Penn gave fans new hope by submitting then-reigning champion Matt Hughes in the first frame of their welterweight title bout. A little more than two years later, Hughes struck back by disarming a defenseless Penn en route to a third round TKO victory. This November, a classic trilogy looks to be in the making, as UFC 123 will apparently mark the return of the Hawaiian to 170-pounds in hopes of besting Hughes two-out-of-three times.
News of the possible match-up was reported by MMAFighting.
“The Prodigy” has not competed outside of the lightweight division since losing to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 in January 2009. He is 0-3 as a welterweight since 2006 with an additional loss to “GSP”, as well as the previously mentioned mugging by Hughes at UFC 63. Penn is 15-7-1 in his career and will be coming off back-to-back losses to current 155-pound champ Frank Edgar.
While Penn has been struggling as of late, Hughes is presently riding a three-fight win streak including a “Submission of the Night” performance over BJJ blackbelt Ricardo Almeida at UFC 117. It was also the third consecutive victory for the self-professed “country boy” over opponents who were highly proficient at Jiu-Jitsu (like Penn).
UFC 123 is scheduled for November 20th at The Palace of Auburn Hills outside of Detroit, Michigan. On top of Penn vs. Hughes III, the event is slated to feature a light heavyweight bout between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida, as well as top contendership on the line when lightweight George Sotiropoulos puts his grappling to the test against 19-5 Joe Lauzon.