Former UFC champions BJ Penn and Matt Hughes have agreed to square off for the third time in a welterweight bout that is expected to co-headline “UFC 123: Rampage vs. Machida” on November 20 in Detroit.
The rubber match was confirmed late Monday by Ariel Helwani after Hughes announced that he would return at UFC 123 despite pledging to take the rest of the year off for hunting.
Penn won the welterweight title from Hughes with a first-round submission in their first meeting in 2004, but Hughes evened the series with a third-round TKO to defend the 170-pound belt in 2006.
Hughes (45-7) has returned to welterweight contention by rebounding from back-to-back losses with three-straight wins over Matt Serra, Renzo Gracie, and Ricardo Almeida, while Penn (15-7-1) suffered his second-straight loss to lightweight champ Frankie Edgar last month after winning 5 of his last 6.
The UFC 123 fight card is headlined by former light heavyweight champs Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida and also includes Joe Lauzon vs. George Sotiropoulos and Karo Parisyan vs. Dennis Hallman.