As UFC 63 draws closer, the amount of coverage the event is starting to receive is picking up in a big way…
FOX Sports: Hughes-Penn rematch two years in the making
You might think Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Matt Hughes is gunning for revenge going into his rematch with B.J. Penn at UFC 63 on Saturday.
After all, Penn didn’t just beat Hughes for the welterweight title in 2004. He embarrassed the champ.
But Hughes says the one-sided, first-round submission loss was precisely what he needed at the time.
“In some ways, that loss to B.J. was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said the 32-year old Hughes.
Tonight Spike TV will be airing ‘Countdown to UFC 63’ at 11 pm. The show will feature in-depth interviews with Penn and Hughes along with training footage and fight clips from their previous battle.
In case anyone is wondering, BJ Penn is already on weight for his upcoming fight against Matt Hughes on September 23rd…
“I’m in good shape. I’m at 169 pounds right now,” said Penn regarding his conditioning.
Penn was on the radio this week discussing how the fight with Hughes came about, the injury to Georges St. Pierre, and possibly fighting Jens Pulver once again. He gave plenty of interesting answers to say the least.
When asked how the match came about, Penn said, “I heard that St. Pierre might be hurt. We told Joe Silva to let us know if St. Pierre is hurt just in case you need a replacement. He [Silva] called a couple days later and said it’s on.”
With the unexpected injury, St. Pierre’s loss became BJ’s gain. “George is a great guy, no disrespect to him,” said Penn. “He’s such a tough guy. He worked his way back to the title fight. It is sad that he didn’t get the title fight… I think he made the right choice. It’s good to be at your best to come in for a fight of that caliber.”
I’m guessing that he already knew he would be the one to get the call if Georges was really hurt, which he happened to be. I know that some have said that St. Pierre should have rested some more and given training shot but BJ is right about this - A fighter wants to be 100% for this kind of opportunity.
St. Pierre had a pretty tough road back to the title compared to some fighters that lost the first time around and only won 1 or 2 fights before they got another shot - Frank Trigg and Carlos Newton are perfect examples.
Penn was also asked if he would give St. Pierre a title shot if he was to win the title from Hughes at UFC 63. His answer: an emphatic yes…
So what about Jens Pulver?
When asked about possibly dropping down in weight to face Jens Pulver in a rematch (Pulver beat Penn in 2002) , BJ responded, “Of course. In a second… I’d do it in a second. I’ll do it anytime. Let’s do it. I’m ready to go.”
“I want to be known as a champion,” added Penn. “I don’t want to be known as a great fighter. I want to be known as the best.”
Very interesting. If BJ is victorious over Hughes, I wonder if he will go with his original plan to win the belts at welterweight, lightweight, and middleweight. That would be awesome to watch.
Its official, UFC’s welterweight number one contender Georges “Rush” St. Pierre has been forced to pull out of his long awaited rematch with UFC Champion Matt Hughes. St. Pierre pulled his groin during training and he made it official today that he would not be fighting after a few days of speculation.
BJ “The Prodigy” Penn will serve as St. Pierre’s replacement and rightfully so. Penn is the last man to beat Hughes and on September 23rd the rivalry will be renewed.
BJ Penn’s camp is reporting that he has verbally agreed to fight Kuniyoshi Hironaka on the October 10th UFC Fight Night card.