When it was announced that Rory MacDonald had suffered an injury and pulled out of his upcoming bout with BJ Penn at UFC 152, Penn seemed content to sit out and wait for MacDonald to heal. Because the fight against MacDonald was Penn’s motivation to come out of retirement, BJ Penn appears to be, dare I say, determined to fight the heir apparent to Georges St. Pierre. Yet despite Penn’s plans to wait for MacDonald, both Jon Fitch and Siyar Bahadurzada have volunteered to step in on short notice to fight BJ Penn.
It’s not hard to figure out why either man wants this fight, yet it’s doubtful that we’ll be still seeing BJ Penn across the cage from one of them any time soon.
Perhaps the more transparent – and also less likely to come to fruition – callout of the two is Jon Fitch’s casual suggestion that he should be fighting BJ Penn at UFC 153. I say this because Jon Fitch already has an opponent for UFC 153, and it is none other than Brazilian wrecking ball Erick Silva. As we’ve pointed out when the fight was booked, Silva is anything but a rebound fight for the thirty four year old AKA product. Considering that Fitch hasn’t won a fight since he beat Thiago Alves two years ago, a loss to Silva – which is certainly not outside the realm of possibility – can easily end his hopes of ever earning another title shot in the UFC.
And honestly, I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say I’d be okay with that. Even though BJ Penn and Jon Fitch are still tough fights for anyone to draw, they represent the past, not the future, of our sport. Watching Fitch attempt to avenge a recent draw on his record to BJ Penn, who would later call him a “glass jawed poser,” is nothing more than a regression. Like Ben asked about the “Bringing back your old self” ban, does the old Jon Fitch/BJ Penn really excite you more than the new Erick Silva? Didn’t think so, so let’s not bump the Brazilian prospect off of a card in his home country to relive a fight that, frankly, wasn’t worth remembering in the first place.
As for Siyar Bahadurzada, he recently began campaigning for the BJ Penn fight via his Twitter account, going so far as to offer to donate his entire purse to charity to prove that he isn’t fighting BJ for the money.
Siyar certainly is an intriguing enough fight for BJ Penn to consider. “The Great” impressed fans with a quick, brutal knockout over Paulo Thiago in his UFC debut at UFC on FUEL TV 2. Fans have been patiently waiting for more of him, and even though Penn recently retired, he’s still a big enough name to make this a marketable fight.
There’s just one problem: While Rory MacDonald is widely regarded as the future of the welterweight division, Bahadurzada is still only known for his lone UFC appearance. If Penn is coming out of retirement to see if he can compete against the next generation, a victory over Siyar The Great will not prove this. This isn’t to say that Siyar Bahadurzada won’t be an exceptional talent – or even that he isn’t already – but rather he isn’t nearly as established of a name as Rory MacDonald currently is.
That all being said, what do you think? Are you okay with BJ Penn waiting for Rory MacDonald? Would you like to watch Jon Fitch redeem himself against Penn? Would you like to see Bahadurzada prove his greatness? Let us know.