Rising welterweight star Rory “Ares” MacDonald has had his wish granted and is expected to face former two-division UFC champion “The Prodigy” B.J. Penn at UFC 152 on September 22nd in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. UFC President Dana White confirmed plans for the fight on Friday night.
MacDonald issued a challenge to Penn on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, which Penn later accepted. MacDonald has posted dominant wins in each of his past three fights. Penn returns to the Octagon after contemplating retirement following an October loss to Nick Diaz.
MacDonald (13-1-0) finished each of his first nine opponents to earn a shot in the UFC in early 2010. Following a first-round submission victory over Mike “Joker” Guymon, MacDonald took a big step up in competition to face current UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit. After handily winning the first two rounds, MacDonald was overwhelmed by strikes from Condit late in round three and the bout was stopped with just seven seconds remaining. MacDonald used the tough loss as motivation and the talented Canadian has since bounced back with wins over Nate Diaz, Mike Pyle and Che Mills. He looks for his biggest victory to date when he takes on the Octagon legend in September.
Penn (16-8-2) has long been hailed as one of the sport’s greatest natural athletes. The Hawaiian burst onto the scene in 2001 and has since enjoyed a successful career that has included reigns as both the UFC welterweight and lightweight champion. Penn has struggled in recent years, however, and has posted just one win in his past five fights; a 21-second knockout of Matt Hughes in the pair’s November 2010 rubber match. In his most recent fight, Penn was battered for the better part of three rounds by Diaz en route to a lopsided Unanimous Decision defeat. He promptly announced plans to retire, but will now return to action to face a stablemate of one of his long-time rivals, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre.
UFC 152 takes place on September 22nd at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The bout between MacDonald and Penn may serve as the night’s co-main event.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)