BJ Penn wants to prove a point against the TriStar Gym in Montreal, Canada.
The former champion says that is one of his primary motivations in agreeing to take a fight with Rory Macdonald at UFC 152. Prior to being called out by Macdonald, Penn had evinced no interest in any other opponents he was being offered and seemed to be following through on his talk of retirement.
“It would be nice to let them know it was a fluke,” Penn says of his loss to Georges St. Pierre back at UFC 94, when he tried to take the welterweight belt from the French-Canadian but failed in the attempt. (That fight is notorious for the ‘greasing’ controversy which ensued).
“The fight [with Macdonald] is not going to go down the same way. Rory is not just going to walk in there and take me out and beat me up for four rounds straight and end up putting me away. I really believe that the fight is going to go different and they are going to realize that when we start fighting. This isn’t the same guy they fought that night and this is going to be a whole different thing.
“Besides that there is no bad blood. I see Firas all the time, I see Georges. Everything is in the past. I’d like to get out there show TriStar gym and their fans [that] I’m a worthy opponent. I’m not just a guy that’s going to walk in the ring and somebody’s just gonna walk across the other side and walk across and crush me. That’s not gonna be the story.”
Macdonald is a rising star of the welterweight division and numbers St. Pierre among his training partners. While the TriStar team has explicitly stated that Macdonald will not fight for the belt as long as St. Pierre holds it, there is also a tangible sense that they consider him a champion-in-waiting.
At 13-1, he currently rides a three-fight win streak and his only loss is to Carlos Condit, who will be challenging St. Pierre for the belt next. Macdonald’s biggest win is over Nate Diaz, a unanimous decision at UFC 129.