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B.J. Penn responds to Nik Lentz: 'The lion doesn't care what the sheep thinks'

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Now that he is officially out of retirement, B.J. Penn still wants to fight Nik Lentz. But he also isn't afraid to move on to different pastures if Lentz decides to drag his feet.

"I want to use him as a punching bag to get some ring rust out," Penn said Tuesday on The MMA Hour. "I've been gone for two years. I wanted to use him as a punching bag, but I guess he's smarter than I thought, because he's smart enough not to get in the ring. So I don't think he's going to get in the ring. I'll tell him right now: Nik, I'll fight you at 155 pounds, since you keep crying about the weight. Let's do it. But Nik better believe, if I fight someone else, don't ever think I'm going to fight him again."

Penn, the legendary former two-division UFC champion and Hall of Famer, announced on Tuesday's show that he was indeed targeting a return to the Octagon on March 5 at UFC 197, as many suspected, with respected trainer Greg Jackson in his corner.

Considering all of the bad blood that has developed between the two fighters, Penn said he would extend Lentz the first offer at being his dance partner for that date, but would be forced to look elsewhere if the offer went unanswered.

"He's going to lose out on the biggest opportunity he's ever had, because I'll forget who he is as soon as I get my next opponent," Penn said. "I'll forget who he is. I'll forget he's even alive, and we know he's never going to run into me later. So, Nik, you want to sit there and tell everybody how hard your life is and how bad it is, and how spoiled I am, and this and that? Here you go. You got a chance to hurt a spoiled kid, since you're jealous of every spoiled kid, and you've got the biggest opportunity of your life, Nik. But is he going to do it? No, he's scared."

The bitter rivalry between Penn and Lentz stems from a dispute between Penn and weight cutting guru Mike Dolce in 2014, prior to Penn's third loss to Frankie Edgar. Penn said he worked with Dolce for three weeks and was subsequently unhappy with the results. According to Dolce, Penn reneged on payment for the work. Penn ultimately called out both Dolce and Lentz, a fellow Dolce client who briefly trained with Penn in Hawaii, challenging the latter to a fight late last year.

"I don't know much too about the guy," Penn said of Lentz. "He's a real quiet guy. I kind of thought he was a punk, so I left him a bloodied mess in the gym. He ran out of the gym screaming, ‘Dolce, please stop this. Stop this.' He jumped on the next airplane home, because he doesn't want that to happen again. He's a bloody mess. And you know what really broke him? It wasn't that I bloodied him up and I smashed his whole face. It was that I passed his guard and mounted him, and he prides himself so much on his ground game, but he's a white belt. It felt like I was grappling with a white belt."

Lentz and Penn have exchanged words on several occasions since the initial dispute, culminating in a formal challenge issued by Penn earlier this month. That challenge prompted a lengthy and scathing reply from Lentz, who listed the following trio of terms that Penn would have to accept for the bout to be made: first, that the fight take place at lightweight; second, that Penn pays Dolce the remaining sums he owes; and third, that the fight is held at a later date than March 5.

Penn said that while he has yet to read Lentz's latest response, he would be more than happy to oblige the lightweight aspect of those terms. However he scoffed in regards to Lentz's other demands, reiterating that if Lentz didn't want to fight anytime and anywhere, he never should have taken things this far in the first place.

"The lion doesn't care what the sheep thinks," Penn said. "The lion just wants to eat him. I don't care. I don't speak baaaah, baaaah, whatever the sheep speaks. I just want to eat the sheep. It's crazy. Is he not crazy for not taking this opportunity? Or do you think he's smart for not going in there and getting his ass kicked? What is it? It's just crazy, right? You're going to sit there and say, ‘bring Penn back, I'll fight him anytime.' And then you finally get the fight, and then you don't want it.

"So don't sit around and tell everybody how hard your life is when you pass up every opportunity that comes by. It's funny. Like I said, I'm not mad at Nik Lentz. I just want to use him to beat him up. Good for Nick. I'm glad he knows how to let people write poems for him or whatever he does. Good for him. Good for him and his whole deal. But he ain't going to get this opportunity again," Penn promised.

"After today, it's Nik who? Nik who? Hey, what about who? Nik who? Who are you talking about? I mean, it is still Nik who. No one knows who Nik is, you know what I mean? It's Nik who. That's his name. Everybody from Hawaii, that's what they're telling me. ‘Nik who? Nik who?' Nobody knows that guy. It's just amazing, man."