UFC icon B.J. Penn has had a pair of past encounters with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, coming up short in both bouts. Though Penn knows he’s nowhere near the front of the contendership line and won’t be getting a third go at St-Pierre anytime soon (if ever), he’s still a star and as such he was able to score a crack at St-Pierre protégé, Rory MacDonald.

The two are set for a showdown on December 8 at UFC on FOX 5 where Penn will make his return to the ring after a little more than a year away from the Octagon for personal reasons. In MacDonald, “The Prodigy” not only sees a rising star with skills to back his hype but an opportunity to prove himself against GSP’s camp at TriStar MMA.

“I wanted to have another match against TriStar and head coach Firas Zahabi,” acknowledged Penn in an interview with BJ Penn Radio, clarifying, “And it’s not being done because of any bad blood. I feel like I have more to show them and without a doubt Rory has a lot of hype surrounding him. I can see why, he’s done great so far.”

“He’s in great condition, he can kick, punch, he can wrestle and he knows how to fight on the ground. Everyone is saying he’s going to be one of the top guys and those are the guys I like to fight,” Penn continued, giving credit to MacDonald where due. “It works out two ways for me; I get to face a really good opponent and I get to compete against Firas again.”

Penn is 1-3-1 in his last five fights with his only win involving a knockout of Matt Hughes in November 2010. Regardless, the 33-year old Hawaiian remains a legitimate legend with UFC titles in two divisions and past success against the likes of Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Renzo Gracie, and Sean Sherk.