It’s no secret that mixed martial arts (MMA) legend B.J. Penn will have his hands full in his return to the Octagon tomorrow (Sun., Jan. 15, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 103 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, as he takes on rising featherweight contender Yair Rodriguez. Despite returning against a surging youngster after spending 30 months on the sidelines, Penn still believes he will outclass Rodriguez when the cage door shuts at UFC Fight Night 103.
“I’m a fan of everybody, I respect everyone. I’m proud of everybody who decides to take this path in life and chooses this profession. And I think he’s very good, a very solid opponent,” said Penn in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. “But a lot of people are going to be surprised when I get out there. It’s going to look like a professional against an amateur. That’s what’s going to happen, and Yair is going to be surprised, his coaches are going to be surprised. They’re going be like, ‘oh, I thought this we were going to come between this easy fighter and his big name.’ But we’re going to see. They’re going to see.”
Remember, a slew of misfortunes, including injuries and legal trouble, have kept Penn away from the Octagon after announcing his comeback early last year. He will finally get his chance to prove he still belongs at 38 years of age. Penn will also get the chance to prove he’s capable of defeating a young up-and-comer like “El Pantera,” who may or may not have picked “The Prodigy” based on his over-the-hill status.
“I think Yair and his manager saw me training at the gym (at Jackson-Winkeljohn) and thought, ‘this guy doesn’t have it anymore. Let’s fight this guy. He’s a big name, and let’s try to make our name off his.’ And that’s exactly how this fight got put together,” said Penn.
“Some people from the gym said, ‘hey, Yair is a p*ssy, he’s going to try to fight you because he thinks you’re older,’ and this and that. ‘His manager is trying to push for the fight.’ And I go, really, huh? I was talking to my buddies in Albuquerque, and then the UFC called me two weeks later and offered me Yair. That’s what it was.
“I don’t take it as disrespect,” added Penn. “I just laugh. And let’s just see. Let’s see if his intuition was correct.”
Only time will tell if one of the greatest lightweight champions in the history of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has enough left in the tank to make a meaningful run at 145 pounds. Rodriguez is no slouch, and a guy that can do it all, so Penn better be on his game when the action gets underway at UFC Fight Night 103.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 103 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.
Source:: mma mania