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of Nazareth
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http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=11143&zoneid=13

Each time B.J. Penn prepares to defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight belt, the question arises: with a win, will he return to the welterweight division where he once held the title?

Penn takes on Frankie Edgar in the co-main event of UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi on April 10, and if the Hawaiian comes away with the win, a move to the 170-pound division is something he’s considering.

“If everything goes well on April 10, I definitely would consider moving up to 170. Not that I’m – not that it’s 100-percent guaranteed,” Penn said recently.

“If I do make that move I’m going to move slow. I’m not going to try to rush anything,” he added. “Maybe I would think about it more as testing the waters. I’d talk to Dana and see if he would want me to vacate the belt, but maybe try do something like Anderson (Silva) is doing, test the waters, see how everything is going and see how everything plays out.”

Penn is the only one who knows whether or not he’s already made up his mind to vacate the lightweight division after UFC 112, but his statements seem to foreshadow a move up in weight class.

“I try to just be true to myself and what my own personal goals are. And if I feel in my life that I want to try to take a fight at 170 pounds, I’ve got to stay true to myself and to my motivation,” commented Penn.

“I think a fighter has to stay true to himself and what his goals and accomplishments are, what really motivates him,” added the 31-year-old athlete. “I’ve been the welterweight champion once and in a lot of ways I really wouldn’t mind being the welterweight champion again. And I think it’s just a fun thing to do.”

Penn defeated Matt Hughes at UFC 46, snapping Hughes’ 13-fight win streak to capture the welterweight title. He briefly left the UFC to compete internationally in several different weight classes including heavyweight. He’s 1-3 as a welterweight, losing twice to current titleholder Georges St-Pierre, and losing a rematch to Hughes. He does hold dominating wins over former welterweight contenders Sean Sherk and Diego Sanchez, but in lightweight fights.

Twice Penn has gotten immediate title shots in the welterweight division, at UFC 46 against Hughes and at UFC 94 versus St-Pierre. If he makes the transition following UFC 112, he knows it won’t be for the title bout.

“I had my chance to go straight for the championship and things didn’t work out my way. Of course, anybody would like a free shot for the title. But like I said, I want to take my time. I want to test the waters,” said the lightweight champion. “And it’s exactly what Anderson said, we just want to put on some other great fights.

“There’s some top contenders in the welterweight division, of course there is a champion, and there’s other people. There’s Matt Hughes. There’s a bunch of different fights out there,” added Penn. “That’s what this whole thing is about is about, putting on the biggest and the greatest fights in history.”
His last comments were telling. He specifically mentions Hughes. I do love this new pleasant Penn. His trash talking was never very funny... only cringe worthy. I'm really glad hes cut it out.
 

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I would like to see him go to 170lbs bulked up now that he really strength trains. I think he could be a force if he cut from 180 down to 170 and was muscular.
 

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id kinda like to see him beat Frankie first then maybe one more fight before a gradual move to 170, he will be better than a lot of 170 pounders but i think he may find it tougher than he thinks. He will be one of the smaller WW's but with one of the best skill sets.
 

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I agree, this new BJ Penn is a man to behold. In the past I've been one of the biggest Penn critics you could find, around here mostly. I will be the first to admit he's one me over in the last six to seven months... he cares, and I like that.

I actually think BJ could do exactly what Anderson is doing. The great thing about the LW division is there is a lot of talent, and a lot of young talent. BJ could defend his belt twice, even three times a year, and sneak in one or two WW fights as well. Which I think would be nice for him because he could maintain the same training regiment, and (I think) not have to cut weight. **Doesn't BJ walk around at about 175? Correct me if I'm wrong there.
 

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Penn was always just blown up 155 at welterweight...i really hope he plans a permanent jump to 170 so he can put the weight on right. He really just doesn't cut weight when he fights at 170.
 

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HiiiPoWeR
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Seems logical, since his on top of his weight class. I agree, that he should take things slowly. With GSP possibly moving to middleweight in the future, BJ could have a good run in the WW division. I believe GSP said that he doesn't want a rematch with BJ anymore.
 

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I really hope he does, and a rubber match with Hughes would be the ideal start at WW imo.
 

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I only expected him to stay at LW if Gomi won vs Florian. I knew that if he lost, he would move to 170 after this fight.
 

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LONGHAIRED COUNTRYBOY
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I really hope he does, and a rubber match with Hughes would be the ideal start at WW imo.
I agree with this. Then there is a list of interesting fights for him at ww. I can't think of any at lw.

Who wants to bet that if this happens the nightmare slaps his forehead and goes back to lw?
 

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BJ vs the winner of Hughes/Gracie? Could definitely hype a Penn vs Gracie rematch if Gracie was to beat Hughes. There's a rivalry there, and the rematch could be a huge draw if hyped correctly.

I would still like to see BJ vs either Florian or Maynard at LW though; but seeing him float around LW and WW like Anderson Silva's doing would be cool.
 

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ROCKET FISTS
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I dunno about the move to WW. BJ Penn hasn't even defended his LW belt 4 times yet... and it was against Sherk, Diego, Stevenson and Florian. Florian is the only name there in my mind who's an impressive win, although he did put on a clinic versus Diego.


If BJ walks through Edgar and then does the same to Maynard, moving up makes sense I guess. But if he moves up without fighting Maynard that'd be crazy.
 

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He should stay at lw because he is unable to build muscles. I dont mind seeing him fight at lw because I think he is beatable.
 

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LONGHAIRED COUNTRYBOY
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He should stay at lw because he is unable to build muscles. I dont mind seeing him fight at lw because I think he is beatable.
But who is he going to fight? Bj is a man among boys in the lw division. I just can't think of a lw that I would be excited to see him fight. Can you?

Maynard is a great guy and a good fighter. He would be a good match up for florian or sanchez or any of the guys that bj has already dismantled and looked a little bored while doing it.
 

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But who is he going to fight? Bj is a man among boys in the lw division. I just can't think of a lw that I would be excited to see him fight. Can you?

Maynard is a great guy and a good fighter. He would be a good match up for florian or sanchez or any of the guys that bj has already dismantled and looked a little bored while doing it.
BJ as champion sets the standards in the division, its up to others to raise to and beyond the standards he sets, personally I dont care if he beats every LW twice all in dominant fashion, I still would want to see him, and every other champion, say at that weight and continue to set the standards.
 

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LONGHAIRED COUNTRYBOY
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BJ as champion sets the standards in the division, its up to others to raise to and beyond the standards he sets, personally I dont care if he beats every LW twice all in dominant fashion, I still would want to see him, and every other champion, say at that weight and continue to set the standards.
I can't honestly or intelligently disagree with that.

But...But... BJ is the former ww champ and I just don't want his rivalry with hughes or GSP to be over. He is finally learning to harness and focus what I believe is the greatest natural born talent in the sport. His body might look like a light weight but his talent is bigger than that. so I guess I agree with what you said except when I don't.
 

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BJ as champion sets the standards in the division, its up to others to raise to and beyond the standards he sets, personally I dont care if he beats every LW twice all in dominant fashion, I still would want to see him, and every other champion, say at that weight and continue to set the standards.
This is exactly how I feel. And what is going to happen to the LW division if BJ moves up? one word: SNORE.
 

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CoutureCop
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Sounds good. The LW division is pretty close to cleaned out with the exception of Edgar (who he is fighting soon) and Maynard (who isn't ready for a for a shot.

The only problem I see is that I don't want him jumping back and forth. I want him to either stay at LW on his throne, or to vacate the belt and bulk up... do it properly.
 
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