B.J. Penn calls out Nik Lentz for return fight at UFC 197 in Las Vegas

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

B.J. Penn, less than a year after entering the UFC Hall of Fame and more than a year and a half after his last fight, is looking to come out of retirement.

The former two-division UFC Champion has moved himself at least temporarily to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he’ll be working with the Jackson-Winkeljohn camp, and on Wednesday he made an official call out for a fight with Nik Lentz at UFC 197.

Lentz was on Penn’s radar due to a former working relationship with Mike Dolce, and Lentz responded to Penn partially calling him out in October with a poem blasting the former champion. Now, after a win over Danny Castillo in his return to lightweight, Lentz may wind up getting that matchup after all.

Penn initially ended his career in July of 2014 winless in his last four fights, and it appears he’s trying to hop on the train Conor McGregor’s bringing to Las Vegas for this event. McGregor meets Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC Lightweight Championship in the main event, with Holly Holm against Miesha Tate for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship.

Penick’s Analysis: There is zero reason for Penn to come out of retirement. He was beaten up badly in each of his last three fights, and was absolutely demolished by Frankie Edgar in that final bout in July of 2014. There’s just no reason for him to need to come back into the cage, and it’s a matchup that doesn’t really favor him in 2016. This really seems like a bad idea.

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