With just a few simple words, UFC president Dana White officially announced that the highly anticipated, and rumored, bout between lightweight king BJ Penn and top contender Diego Sanchez will be taking place at UFC 107 in Memphis, Tennessee.
“BJ is fighting December 12,” White stated Thursday afternoon in a video blog on BJPenn.com.
Penn has run roughshod through the lightweight division since he re-entered it a couple of years back. The Hawaiian has rolled off four straight 155-pound wins en route to capturing the title, all ending before the final horn.
“He’s really good; he’s really explosive,” Penn previously stated of Sanchez. “He’s shown that he has some knockout power and he’s a very good grappler. He’s very hungry; he’s shown that he wants to be a champion someday. This is an important fight.”
This will be Sanchez’ first-ever title fight, however that has more to do with his division hopping rather than his game. After taking “The Ultimate Fighter 1” middleweight crown, Sanchez dropped to the welterweight division before finally making the appropriate move to the lightweight class.
White had hinted the two would headline a free fight card in November, but it would not be on Spike TV. Considering all UFC events not aired on pay-per-view have almost always been broadcast on Spike, this lead many to believe that the UFC was a lot closer to inking a major network deal than expected.
However, November has inched closer and yet still no word on a third event. Keep in mind, Strikeforce has yet to announce what November weekend they intend to introduce WAMMA heavyweight champ Fedor Emelianenko to their fans, so it appears the UFC will wisely wait before they commit to anything.
“It’s Penn-Sanchez, but I don’t know where yet,” White stated at the UFC 102 post fight press conference. “We’re working on a deal right now.”
Word is that UFC 107 will be taking place inside the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee and will also feature a light heavyweight grudge match between this season’s “TUF” coaches, Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Here are the other fighters rumored to be competing in the night’s show:
Thiago Alves vs. Paulo Thiago
Cheick Kongo vs. Frank Mir
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Rashad Evans
BJ Penn vs. Diego Sanchez (UFC Lightweight championship)