Despite four straight losses BJ Penn is headed back to the octagon to face Dennis Siver in Oklahoma City on June 25th in the main event of a likely FS1 card. The UFC announced the fight last week.
Penn returned to the UFC in January after a 2 1/2 year layoff only to get knocked out by Yair Rodriguez in the first round. Now facing Siver he will face someone his same age who he has a pretty good shot at beating. Before the loss to Rodriguez Penn was TOK’d by Frankie Edgar at the TUF 19 Finale in 2014.
At 38 years of age Penn is clearly on the downside of his career but ten years ago he was finishing guys like Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez who were at the top of the division. “The Prodigy” also holds two wins over fellow UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes and held the title in the lightweight and welterweight divisions.
Siver hasn’t fought in two years and is coming off two losses at 145 pounds. Siver was knocked out by future champ Conor McGregor in January 2015 and followed it up by losing a decision to Tatsuya Kawajiri. In 2011 Siver was on the verge of fighting for the title at lightweight but a loss to Donald Cerrone that eventually sent him to the featherweight division.
WME must have asked him to come out of retirement so Penn could face someone around his same age.
Five years ago UFC President Dana White would’ve made sure Penn would not fight again. Former headliners Matt Hughes, Minotauro Nogueira and Chuck Liddell were given office jobs in order to keep them from retiring after all had sustained multiple bad losses at the end of their career. With new ownership in place it looks like WME wants to squeeze as many fights out of the aging superstar to recoup some of their $4 billion investment. Last year WME bought out the Fertittas and so far have had some bad luck building new stars alongside the retirement of top draws Brock Lesnar, Dan Henderson and Ronda Rousey.
In addition to Penn vs Siver, Johny Hendricks will face Tim Boetsch in the co-main event. The show will take place June 25th at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.