With UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor challenging for a second title against UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos and Holly Holm making the first defense of her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship against Miesha Tate, it would seem like UFC 196 couldn’t possibly get any bigger — until now.
On Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, MMAFighting.com journalist Ariel Helwani reported that UFC Hall Of Famer BJ Penn “guarantees” he will be making his Octagon return at the event scheduled for March 5th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Coincidentally enough, outside of Randy Couture, Penn is the only fighter to ever become a champion in two different UFC weight classes, something McGregor will be attempting — with his own twist (as he won’t be relinquishing the 145-pound title even if he beats Dos Anjos) — in the main event of the very show that “The Prodigy” will be returning on.
While nothing has been announced at this point, the belief is Penn will not be fighting Nik Lentz in his comeback fight despite their vicious back-and-forth insults and challenges, as Lentz overplayed his hand in negotiations for the fight by compiling an unreasonable list of demands that he said must be met before he would accept what would clearly be the highest-profile fight in his MMA career.
With Lentz seemingly out of the running, the talk right now is that Penn will make his UFC fighting return against Dennis Siver. Once again the coincidences between Penn and McGregor are evident, as “The Notorious” Irishman also fought Siver in what was considered a “tune-up” fight before ultimately challenging Chad Mendes for the interim UFC Featherweight Championship due to then-undisputed champion Jose Aldo pulling out of their scheduled title fight. With names like Nik Lentz and Dennis Siver popping up as potential opponents, one would have to consider Penn’s first trip back to the Octagon as a “tune-up” fight as well.
UFC 196: Dos Anjos vs. McGregor is scheduled to take place live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, March 5, 2016. Make sure to visit MMANews.com for the absolute fastest and most-detailed live UFC 196 results coverage on the web!