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Ralek Gracie ‘definitely interested’ in having B.J. Penn compete at Metamoris

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

B.J. Penn has retired from MMA after a third loss to Frankie Edgar earlier this year, but he could return to competition in a different sport.

Metamoris founder Ralek Gracie told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he has spoken to the former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion about competing in his grappling event in the future.

"We’ve heard back (from Penn), (but) timing-wise it just hasn’t really worked," Ralek Gracie said. "I think it’s just really coming down to the right time and the right opponent, and doing something that really makes sense, something that gets him excited to do it.

"I would love to do something with B.J. Penn. I’d love to have him in my event," he continued. "I think just him coming back to his roots as a grappler would just be incredible. People would just get to see a whole other side of him, embracing that side of his culture, which I think is really important to him, big part of his introduction to MMA. I’m definitely interested in doing something with B.J. Penn."

Metamoris 5 takes place Saturday night in Long Beach, headlined by Renzo Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba. For Penn, Gracie wants to find the perfect opponent.

"Even for someone like Renzo, there are very few people that would make Renzo wanna get on the mat. There are not a lot of people. And he’s a warrior, he will fight anybody," Ralek Gracie said. "But really, when I said Sakuraba, he was like ‘I’m in, sign me up.’ And Saku had a similar response. So that kind of polarity, that energy between athletes, that’s my guy from the beginning. I want to do that with B.J.. I wanna get somebody that he feels brings that level of polarity.

"We have some ideas, but it’s not even … Him versus Ralph (Gracie) would be nuts. That’s kind of the drama. I don’t really need that either, but that would be nuts. We’re working it out. We’ll come up with something good."

At Saturday’s Metamoris card, one of Ralek Gracie’s dreams will come true.

"That’s the dream fight for me. It really is," he said of Renzo Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba. "That match has potential to be better than Royler and Eddie Bravo. For me, it has so much culture. Saku has a whole different style. Renzo has the demons in his closet, his arm has been broken by this person. You know, it’s so rich. I absolutely think that’s going to be an incredible match."

The event also features UFC welterweight number one contender Rory MacDonald in a 20-minute no-gi match with grappling wizard J.T. Torres.

"I think Rory is one of the few guys that is a MMA fighter and has the ability to go in there and just keep it even," Gracie said. "And if he can keep it even, I think it’s going to either go one way or the other. Of course, statistically it’s less likely that he should be able to go in there and just get a decisively submission against J.T., but he has a 20-pound weight advantage, and that means something.

"I don’t see him going in there and being shy or scared, getting caught in the hype of ‘oh, I’m out of my element and this guy is better than me.’ I don’t think he’s mentally that weak. So, if he comes in mentally strong and he shows up with his best, man, that can go either way. … Ultimately, he’s going up against a lot against J.T., and J.T. does nothing but train submissions, and he doesn’t think about punches. So that’s something."