It has been nearly a year since former UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk set foot into the Octagon, but fans have not had much of an opportunity to miss him due to the fact that he hasn’t gone anywhere. After posting a victory over Hermes Franca in his only title defense, Sherk ended up testing positive for a banned substance and was subsequently suspended by the CSAC last July. With the depth and momentum that the Lightweight division had, the UFC was left with no choice but to strip Sherk of his title.
Through it all Sherk has never waned on his innocence, and he has not strayed far from UFC, constantly monitoring what was happening in the 155lb division, and most importantly, with his belt.Sherk watched closely as up and coming Joe Stevenson took on UFC veteran BJ Penn for the vacant Lightweight crown earlier this year. Penn subsequently ran through the overwhelmed Stevenson, which started a bitter war of words between the former and current champions.
Penn called out Sherk on his steroid abuse, stating that it was “obvious” Sherk had been using for years. This infuriated Sherk, who to this day maintains his innocence, and prompted him to fire back at the Hawaiian regarding the skeleton’s in his own closet, accusing Penn of a substance abuse problem of his own.
“I’ve done everything I could do to prove my innocence, including a polygraph examination,” Sherk told Setantasports. “I’d like to strap him up to a polygraph and find out when was the last time he smoked reefer. The guy is a pothead and he wants to talk about natural title belts and that’s not true. He’s got secrets and he’s not fighting for a natural title belt so he could say what he wants to say, but I hooked myself up to a polygraph and I’d like to see him do the same.”
Often times, fighters create drama in order to hype up a fight, clearly that is not the case here. The banter has gone on between the two for months, and will be quickly coming to a head as they are set to square off at UFC 84, adequately titled “Ill Will.” This will be Penn’s first title defense, and Sherk’s first fight off of his suspension.
“This fight with BJ, it’s personal,” stated the former champ. “He said a lot of things about me that aren’t true and he’s talked a lot of smack. This will be the first time that I’ve actually fought someone that I have a problem with. So I am looking forward to it.”
And so will MMA fans as fists are sure to be flying May 24th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is put up or shut up time for both fighers, and Sherk knows it.
“I still feel like that belt belongs to me. If you want to be the champ you have to beat the champ – and BJ didn’t beat me,” Sherk added. “I’m going to make him quit. I’m going to come at him hard and after that first round he is going to realize I’m not going anywhere. I’ll get right up in his face and I’m going to fight. Mentally, I think he’s got some quit in him. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it in the past. If you push him, he’ll quit.”