After the post-fight press conference, White told a small group of reporters that Penn will stay at welterweight and will next face Jon Fitch at UFC 127 in Sydney, Australia, on February 26.
"I already made the fight," White said. "Him and Fitch in Sydney."
That's a new opponent for Fitch, who was expected to face Jake Ellenberger at UFC 126 on Feb. 5. Since losing a decision to welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 87, Fitch has won five straight – all unanimous decisions.
White, though, said the Fitch-Penn fight is not necessarily a top contenders fight for the welterweight title.
"If BJ beats Fitch, if Fitch beats BJ, they're both in the mix," White said.
Penn handed Hughes the quickest knockout loss of his career, ending the fight in just 21 seconds. Penn snapped a two-fight skid with the win – both losses to lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. The loss was Hughes' first since UFC 85, ending a three-fight winning streak.
Though Penn had said leading up to the fight against Hughes that he had designs on going back and forth between lightweight and welterweight, at the post-fight press conference he said he would put that call in White's hands.
And White said he prefers Penn at 170 pounds right now.
"BJ Penn comes in and and looks like the absolute world beater, best pound-for-pound in the world, and the next fight he doesn't – you just don't know," White said. "I can tell you this – he looks better at 170 than he does at 155. The BJ Penn that walked into the Octagon tonight reminds me of the BJ Penn of old."
UFC 127 is expected to take place at the Acer Arena in Sydney. Bouts already likely for the card include Carlos Condit vs. Chris Lytle, Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera and, also announced at the UFC 123 press conference, Australia native George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver.
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