The inaugural event for UFC of 2017 will be BJ Penn’s long awaited return to UFC – against Yair Rodriguez January 15th.
BJ Penn is looking to climb quite a hill, his last 4 fights ended in defeat and all things considered it’s been quite a while since he’s won a fight.
Rodriguez on the other hand is a TUF Latin America winner with a record of 9-1.
Recently Rodriguez spoke to MMA Hour about the fight:
“If he thinks he’s going to take me down and submit me there,” Rodriguez said, “he’s going to have a big surprise.
“If he takes me down and thinks he’s gonna submit me, well I will submit him.”
This would be mighty interesting if he achieved it because BJ Penn is considered a bjj prodigy – having achieved his bjj black belt in record 3 years!
In 1997 Penn began training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Ralph Gracie, eventually earning his purple belt from Gracie. At that point he moved to Nova União where he was eventually awarded his black belt in 2000 by Andre Pederneiras. A few weeks later he became the first non-Brazilian to win the black-belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While Penn’s most well-known and prestigious achievement was placing first in the black belt division in the 2000 world championships, he had success at the Mundials in previous years. In 1999, at the age of 20, Penn finished 3rd, earning himself a bronze medal in the brown belt division, losing only to Fernando “Tererê” Augusto, and in 1998, earned a silver medal, placing 2nd in the blue belt division. Penn is thought to have earned the fastest legitimate black belt of all active Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners (tied with two others).
Penn fired back:
“I’ll tell you this, I’m not the guy to go out there and say, ‘Oh, give me this money fight, give me that money fight,'” Penn told FOX Sports. “I look at all these guys doing that and I’m like, “Why don’t you go knock out a 100 guys and become the money fight yourself? ‘Oh I want to fight this money fight, this money fight’ — why don’t you make yourself the money fight? How’s about that one? Let’s just start there.”
UFC Fight Night 103 will be taking place January 15th In Phoenix, Arizona in one of the rare UFC events to be scheduled on a Sunday.