St. Pierre Sidelined by Injury; ‘The Prodigy’ to The Rescue
After a groin pull forced top 170 pound contender Georges St. Pierre to withdraw from his September 23rd rematch with UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California today, the UFC was faced with a dilemma. Who could possibly challenge the champ on short notice and still be compelling enough to get fight fans excited?
The answer was a no-brainer – the last man to beat Hughes, BJ Penn.
And as one of the top fighters in the world, pound for pound, Penn eagerly accepted the opportunity to make it 2-0 against the premier welterweight of this era.
“I thrive on these big fights, I thrive on pressure, and that’s when I perform my best,” said Penn, who was already in training for an October UFC bout when he got the call to replace St. Pierre.
For his part, Hughes -who has defended his crown eight times over two reigns - would like nothing better than to settle an old score with Hawaii’s ‘Prodigy’.
“Now I’ve got something to really look forward to. I’ve already beat Georges and here I get to fight BJ Penn, a guy who’s beaten me. I’m a month out and I can really concentrate on BJ Penn now, and I’m looking forward to it.”
In 2004, Penn, a highly regarded lightweight contender at the time, scored one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history when he rose 15 pounds in weight to tackle and beat Hughes in his first-ever welterweight bout. The end came at 4:39 of the first round when Penn forced Hughes to tap out due to a rear-naked choke.
On September 23rd, the rivalry is renewed.