Less than 48 hours ago the UFC revealed former champion B.J. Penn would not be facing Rory MacDonald in September as planned after MacDonald was forced to withdraw in order to heal from a major gash suffered in training. However, despite the relatively short span of time since the news, Penn apparently has plenty of options at his fingertips to choose from if he decides to stray from his stated interest in a clash with the young Canadian.
Three of Penn’s UFC peers have already spoken out in hopes of securing a shot at the surefire Hall of Fame fighter with the most notable being Jon Fitch, one of the fan-favorite’s few rivals.
“He should fight me in Rio,” wrote Fitch on Twitter. He is currently scheduled to face Erick Silva on October 13 at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro. Penn has pointed to the card as one he’d like to compete on, albeit against MacDonald.
The two talented welterweights fought to a Draw in February 2011 and have yet to meet again inside the Octagon. The bad blood between the two surfaced again in July when Penn revealed the former Purdue Boilermaker had spoken out against him spending time at American Kickboxing Academy, Fitch’s longtime home.
Also making an interesting case for a pairing with Penn has been Siyar Bahadurzada. Though a relative newcomer on the UFC scene, Bahadurzada looked sharp in his debut against Paulo Thiago and has such a strong desire to test himself against Penn he’s even willing to take the tilt with a few conditions.
“The only reason I wanna fight (Penn) is to test my will and warrior spirit versus his. I’m not fighting for money! I’m willing to donate my fight purse to charity to prove that it’s not for financial reasons & will take VADA tests,” the 21-4-1 Bahadurzada exclaimed on Twitter.
Penn and MacDonald had agreed to VADA testing, a voluntary system of drug screenings aimed at showing both were 100% clean.
Also throwing his name in the hat has been Sean Sherk who Penn beat during his lightweight title-reign in 2008. Sherk has only fought three times since, going 2-1 with success against Tyson Griffin and Evan Dunham, though he hasn’t been seen in the cage in nearly two years and is seemingly the least likely of the bunch to receive consideration.
“The Prodigy” has not addressed any of the challenges thus far.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC