The UFC is still planning to visit Hawaii in the near future, but its hopes to have former champion BJ Penn headline a stadium event were dashed when the Hawaiian decided to take time off after being dominated by Nick Diaz at UFC 137 in October.
“We’re still working on that, but we want to do it. I was kind of hoping to go to Hawaii again and do a B.J. (Penn) fight at the Aloha Bowl, but B.J. wants to take some time off. He’s going to relax for a while,” White recently told MMA Weekly. “We’re coming regardless. But that was the fight I really wanted to do there.”
Penn immediately retired after losing to Diaz, but reconsidered in the weeks following the loss and said he would return if fighting excited him again. Now, with the UFC planning its first event in Hawaii at a 50,000 seat stadium, there may not be a more exciting time for Penn’s return.
After going just 1-3-1 in his last five fights, with a 21-second knockout of Matt Hughes between a pair of losses to Frankie Edgar for the lightweight title and a draw to Jon Fitch before the loss to Diaz, the biggest question besides whether Penn returns is who he would fight if he does.