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UFC 99: Not so Fast for Penn

Written by Tom Ngo
February 28th, 2009
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Everyone in the MMA community knows how talented UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn is, however they also know that he marches to the beat of his own drum. Although the UFC has publicly stated that they intend to have him defend his 155-pound title at UFC 99 in June against Kenny Florian, Penn and his camp have other ideas.

“BJ (Penn) is probably going to defend his 155-pound title against Kenny Florian, and I’m thinking maybe it’s going to be in Germany,” UFC president Dana White said earlier this month.

However, according to Penn’s older brother, Jay Dee, June 13th is not enough time for the Hawaiian to recover from the beating that he received from welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre at UFC 94 last month.

“[UFC 99 is] too close to BJ’s last fight,” stated the elder Penn. “[BJ] wants to spend time with his baby. We are still negotiating the fight. No date [is] scheduled, but we are thinking late July or early August.”

With Florian’s dominant win over Joe Stevenson at UFC 91, he assured himself the next shot at Penn’s title. Although he has patiently waited his turn, he was anticipating getting his shot this summer.

“I talked to my manager Joe Cavallaro today and [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva told him June 13,” Florian said. “That was the date they wanted because they wanted it to be the main event and the only main event. That’s what fight made the most amount of sense for June 13. July [11, UFC 100] apparently is backed up, so July’s probably out of the question, and August…”

Penn hasn’t defended his title since he defeated Sean Sherk at UFC 84 last May. If Penn gets his way, that would mark 15 months since the last UFC lightweight title fight.

That is a schedule that will not work financially for Florian.

“Schedule-wise it makes it a little difficult because money-wise, you expect a certain amount to come in and I’ve been trying to budget things accordingly,” said Florian, who earned $80,000 for his last win. “It might be a little tougher now.”

“For me, it’s the fight that I want and it’s the fight he wants and we both need to come to terms on it, so if that’s what I need to do to make it happen, if I have to wait, then I have no choice,” added a frustrated Florian.

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