With news that former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion B.J. Penn will be moving to 145lbs to face former champ Frankie Edgar next April, Penn's camp has officially brought in nutrition coach Mike Dolce to make the drop. Dolce, who has helped the likes of Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Quinton Jackson hit the scales on the mark, confirmed the news via a statement:
"BJ Penn is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time," Dolce said. "He is a legend - a two-division world champion as a 170-pound welterweight and a 155-pound lightweight that has been fighting professionally before most athletes even knew what MMA or the UFC was. It is a great honor to join BJ on his journey back into the Octagon and, in my opinion, to make history as the first ever three-division world champion in our sport."
"First thing's first," Dolce said. "We have a very tough Frankie Edgar standing in our way and in speaking to BJ, that is exactly the way he wants it! I will be flying out to Hilo, Hawaii this week to begin growing my relationship with BJ and offer my skills to his camp."
Penn has struggled with weight issues in the past, competing as heavy as 191lbs in an openweight loss to Lyoto Machida back in 2005 under the K1 banner. While hugely successful at 170lbs, Penn is regarded among the top lightweight's in the sport's history, scoring signature wins over Jens Pulver, Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez. After two consecutive losses to Edgar in 2010, Penn returned to welterweight, but scored just a single win in his next four bouts.
With a move back to the UFC lower weight divisions, Penn's returning to his roots in more ways than one. He's already enlisted the help of Nova Uniao founder and sixth degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Andre Pederneiras, the man who molded Penn into the the first non-Brazilian World Jiu-Jitsu black belt champion. Following an Ultimate Fighter coaching stint opposite Edgar, the pair will have their trilogy bout early in 2014.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Not the same old Reem. According to fellow heavyweight Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem just hasn't been himself since testing positive for elevated testosterone levels and subsequent suspension. "He lacks a little bit in gas because of his steroids. He changes a lot if you take his juice off. Everybody saw what happened. Overeem is one fighter with his juice, but he changes completely without the juice. They took his powers."
Barrier of entry. UFC featherweight Cole Miller says it's become extremely difficult to get sponsorship money due to the UFC's policies towards small businesses. "I've got fellow fighters that are fighting on local shows that are making the same money, or more, than I am."
Munoz on Machida. Mark Munoz tells Dave Doyle how he went from training alongside Lyoto Machida one day to scrambling to prepare to fight him the next. "I have to find different training partners who can emulate Lyoto, because not too many people can emulate Lyoto. So I'm like ‘Hey, can you turn your head like this and do a karate kick?' There's not many people who can do that. It just sucks, it really does."
Chael talks star power. Chael Sonnen tells our Shaun Al-Shatti that he agrees with people who say he's gotten where he is with his mouth, but that it takes more than that to be a star in today's UFC. "You take a guy like Conor McGregor, it's overnight. You take a guy like Brock Lesnar, he just walks into the spot. But the one constant the stars have is they win their fights."
Toquinho reborn. Following back-to-back losses to Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard, Rousimar Palhares leaves middleweight and Brazilian Top Team for greener pastures at 170lbs. "I feel better than I expected at 170. I did a 20-minute fight in the gym one day after I cut down to 170 and did great. I've changed everything in my diet. I can eat everything but carbohydrates and sugar. It was tough, man. I loved to eat meat, french fries, chocolate and ice cream, but that's okay."
UFC Free Fight: Shields vs. Akiyama.
This weekend's new Tommy Toe Hold Show.
GLORY's Rico Verhoeven gets some striking tips from Anderson Silva.
A bit more footage from the day.
Highlights from MFC 38.
CB Dollaway UFC 166 video blog.
Cody Peterson vs. Jacob Akin at KCFA 8.
How was your weekend?
Which way Willie? pic.twitter.com/2RQ0pcbVF6— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 4, 2013
Should be interesting.
Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) October 5, 2013
Smile :) pic.twitter.com/z684j4JsHy— 藤井惠 Megumi Fujii (@MegaMeguCat) October 7, 2013
Gyms on Sundays.
Number of people at the gym on Sunday is the same that will enter the cage with You ! And Newwww !!! pic.twitter.com/3UjnVSpkXG— Edward Alvarez (@Ealvarezfight) October 6, 2013
Georgi Karakhanyan (@georgimma) October 6, 2013
The Fat Elvis from the theearlybird. French toast sandwich with bacon, peanut butter and fried... http://t.co/5zpvV0fvqb— Chris Clements (@menaceclements) October 5, 2013
Not as much as that chair.
Need all the help I can get pic.twitter.com/7kcR5dpoC2— Tim Sylvia (@timsylviamma) October 7, 2013
Just watch out for those water bottles.
Cheick Kongo (@kongo4real) October 5, 2013
Gotta tuck that elbow, Dustin.
Will Brooks (@illwillbrooks86) October 6, 2013
We get it, you're big.
Sell that fight.
Brent Weedman (@brent_weedman) October 6, 2013
Announced this weekend (Oct. 5-6 2013)
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. John Howard at UFC 168
cancelled Charles Oliveira vs. Jeremy Larsen at UFC 166
Pat Healy vs. Jamie Varner at UFC on FOX 9
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via AndrewHH.
As fans, we judge fights from a variety of perspectives: Technical, social, promotional, historical, and others. How much has a fighter's striking improved? Which combatant is favored? Who talked the most trash? Sometimes, though, we don't care about any of that. Sometimes we have connections to a contest that run deeper than the superficial. Sometimes a fight just moves you, and you don't care about anything else. It is those perspectives, the emotional ones, that can be the most powerful ways to experience a fight.
In recent memory, Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson's epic title clash fits the bill. The invincible champion tested by an indomitable challenger, momentum swinging to and fro like a pendulum. By all means, that was a fantastic fight. But for now, lets travel back a few years and examine other bouts that provoked emotional reactions. These are my picks.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.