Fans wondering whether B.J. Penn would return to the division where he recently reigned as champion or remain at 170-pounds after overrunning Matt Hughes at “UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida” got an answer quicker than they might have envisioned, similar to the finish, when UFC head-honcho Dana White announced at the post-event press conference that “The Prodigy” would be facing perennial contender Jon Fitch in Sydney at UFC 127 on February 27.
Though Penn’s twenty-one second win against Hughes was his first as a welterweight since 2004, Fitch is believed by many to be neck-and-neck with newly signed Jake Shields as the division’s top threat to the title, meaning a victory for the Hawaiian icon in Australia would certainly go a long way in terms of earning the eventual shot at the belt he covets.
The 23-3 Fitch has won five consecutive bouts since falling to Georges St. Pierre by way of unanimous decision in August 2008. He holds notable victories over Thiago Alves, Diego Sanchez, and Paulo Thiago. Prior to Saturday’s announcement he was rumored to be facing rising 170-pound star Jake Ellenberger at UFC 126.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC