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Fight Opinion

Five Ounces of Pain

MMA on Tap

Sunday, January 20, 2008


NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE – In his post-fight comments following B.J. Penn’s lightweight championship victory over Joe Stevenson, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White confirmed that Sean Sherk would be Penn’s first defense. He stated that the bout is planned for an unannounced event in May.

Much was made leading up to Saturday night’s main event at UFC 80 of Penn’s legacy in mixed martial arts. The win over Stevenson made him only the second fighter in UFC history to win a title in two different weight classes. The first was disgruntled heavyweight champion Randy Couture.

White stated that if Penn is able to defeat Sherk and hang on to the lightweight title, he could eventually see him returning to the welterweight division to fight Georges St. Pierre, assuming that St. Pierre still holds the belt if and when that time comes.

Aside from announcing Penn versus Sherk, White also indicated that Fabricio Werdum would be first in line to face the winner of Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, assuming that Couture doesn’t change his mind and decide to return and fight for the UFC. The winner of Sylvia versus Nogueira will be crowned the promotion’s interim heavyweight champion as the UFC refuses to strip Couture of his title designation, disgruntled or not.

Other UFC 80 notes:

– Announced attendance of 8,412

– No. 1 selling event in the history of the Metro Radio Arena

– Fight of the Night awarded to Paul Kelly and Paul Taylor (Each fighter given a $35,000 bonus)

– Knockout of the Night to Wilson Gouveia ($35,000 bonus)

– Submission of the Night to B.J. Penn ($35,000 bonus)

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