BJ Penn: “My goal is to be the welterweight champ again”

Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion, BJ Penn has set himself another goal to capture the welterweight crown for the second time, but first he has to get past his UFC 123 co-main event bout with long-time rival, Matt Hughes in Detroit, Michigan.

Penn, speaking to via conference call, said:

“I was kind of bummed out [after the loss to Edgar]. When I got home after the fight, there were a couple of days where I didn’t train. I just hung out, and there was nothing to do. I don’t want to sit in the bar and drink. I didn’t get banged or bruised up too much, so I just got back to training and thought about getting the lightweight title back.”

“I think it’s premature to be talking about a title fight. I definitely think Matt has worked his way back up the ranks. My goal is to be the welterweight champ again, and I wouldn’t mind being the lightweight champ again, but I’m taking it one step at a time. [I’m comfortable at either] 155 or 170. If I do well against Matt and feel good at welterweight, there’s no doubt I’d like to fight best welterweights out there.”

“I’ve been changing my training, doing roadwork, trying to push my different energy systems. You’ve got to improve everything — boxing, takedowns, wrestling. [Regarding Hughes], I haven’t done anything drastic. I’ve just been training. I brought in good sparring partners for the fight, and it feels like yesterday when I was fighting at welterweight. I’m just preparing for the legend, preparing for Matt.”

“I just have to keep on going. It’s definitely about the fans. I don’t worry about losing all my fans. Whatever true fans you’ve got will stick by you, so that’s nothing to worry about. After two losses I would have fought anybody, but it was kind of a gift from Dana to get to fight Matt. I think when you’ve been where [Matt and I] have been, a lot of other things seem boring. This is what gives me a reason to live. When I got that text [from Dana], I got chicken skin all over my body. I’ve got a reason to live for a few more months.”

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