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B.J. Penn: I Know I'll Be UFC Lightweight Champion Again

BJ PennB.J. Penn is generally recognized as the best lightweight in MMA history, but after losing two straight fights to lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, he's now moving up to welterweight to face Matt Hughes at UFC 123. Penn apparently doesn't see it as a permanent move.

In an interview on SportsCenter Wednesday morning, Penn said that he doesn't view his two losses to Edgar this year as a sign that he's no longer competitive in the lightweight division. Instead, he thinks he's going to win his welterweight rubber match with Hughes and then move back down to be the best lightweight again.

"I know I'll get my chance again," Penn said. "I plan on going out and beating Matt Hughes, and honestly, deep down in my heart, I know I'll be lightweight champion again."

Penn said he thinks he can fight at either welterweight or lightweight, and he mostly just took this fight because he likes staying as active as he can, and because he wanted to settle things with Hughes (whom he's split two previous meetings with) once and for all.

"I'm probably stuck somewhere in between, but it doesn't matter," Penn said of the weight classes. "We can get down at 170 pounds or 155 pounds. It doesn't make a big difference to me."

So will Penn become a champion again? And if so, in which weight class?

Penn's biggest problem if he wants to get another belt is that he's 0-2 against both Edgar, the lightweight champion, and welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. And considering that Penn was thoroughly dominated in his second losses to both Edgar and St. Pierre, it would be tough for the UFC to justify giving him a third shot at either one of them.

But if there's a different champion, Penn would have a good case for another title shot, especially at lightweight. In fact, I think that once things shake out in the lightweight division -- where Edgar will fight Gray Maynard and WEC champion Ben Henderson will fight Anthony Pettis, and then the winners will fight each other -- Penn might very well be the next No. 1 contender if the champion is anyone other than Edgar.

But that's a while off. For now, Penn is a welterweight, and he's got a tough fight on his hands.

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