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Jon Fitch, Siyar Bahadurzada, and Sean Sherk express interest in battling B.J. Penn

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

7 COMMENTS
  • MCM says:

    I would love to see Fitch get the fight as he won the first one IMO, but I don’t think B.J. is gonna sign on for it. If anything, I see Siyar getting the shot as he’s a young, dangerous, up and comer just like Rory, and he presents a new challenge for Penn.

    It’s also nice to hear Sean Sherk’s name back in talks, but I wonder if he knows this fight is at 170? If Sherk does come back, I’d like to see him fight Matt Serra in a “Return to OZ” match.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  • Dufresne says:

    MacDonald’s camp said that Rory would be able to fight Penn around November, but if he’s determined to fight in Rio I guess he’ll have to pick someone else. Personally I think Fitch has the best claim, but Bahadurzada is kinda interesting just because he’s willing to donate his purse and go through all the same testing MacDonald agreed to. I’m curious if Sherk would be willing to do VADA testing on the off chance that he gets the shot.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • jasonah says:

    wunderd what sherk has been up too? If he’s still training he can still give alot of guy’s problems. for sure jon Fitch is not even in this discussion. No body is going to buy a P.P.V that Jon Fitch headlines, I would not be surprised to see Ellenberger in the mix,Fitch will be kicked down to Strike force soon. They will give B.J a good match up because He’s the man!!!

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  • Screenplaya says:

    Fitch makes sense. Penn/Fitch was a great fight. Penn did enough in the first two rounds to win them and force Fitch to NOT BE BORING in round 3. He then turned in one of the most dominant rounds in UFC history in round 3. A rematch would sell, and Penn would draw an exciting fight out of Fitch. Win-win.

    Penn might very well take Bahadurzada lightly, show up out of shape, and lose in a lackluster scrap. No way he shows up out of shape for Fitch.

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  • Screenplaya I disagree, Fitch won the 2nd and a 10-8 in the 3rd IMO, but hey, that’s why it should happen again. Siyar is interesting but he got a quick KO in a few seconds over an vastly overrated fighter. I dont know if that’s enough to warrant fighting a “legend” . I hope Penn takes on anyone else as Ive stated several times, fighting Penn is a waste of time for MacDonald and is lose/lose in my eyes. He beats an unsuccessful Welterweight if he wins and if he loses, he’s lost to a guy who hasnt been relavent in the division since he came up to challenge for a belt and got beat pillar to post for 4 rounds.
    awesome way to market one of the most up and coming prospects in one of the best divisions.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  • joe mo mma says:

    Of course Fitch wants to call out Penn, he nearly beat Penn in their last outing plus it gives him a chance to avoid getting smashed by someone like Erick Silva, who is relatively new at this point and also very dangerous. A loss to eSilva would be devastating to Fitch, but not so much if he lost to Penn.

    There’s no way that Penn would consider fighting Baha. He’s coming out of retirement to fight one of the best welterweights out there to shoot himself into title contention. Taking a chance with a relatively unknown guy in Baha wont make any sense for Penn. If Penn was back for good as a welterweight then fine, you can make the argument that it’s a good match up but Penn is just looking for the fast track to the top.

    I see Penn just waiting out McDonald’s injury instead of taking an unnecessary fight.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  • Rece Rock says:

    Fitch is trying to do exactly what Penn is trying to do… pick an opponent that puts you back into the upper crust talks… Penn will wait for Rory for 2 reasons… try and beat a guy who will trust him into contender talks and beat a guy out of tristar who is GSP’s boy.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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