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By: Chris Taylor (Kalapaki Joe’s Staff Writer)

Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn (16-10-2) was expected to make his octagon return against former UFC featherweight title challenger Ricardo Lamas at last month’s scheduled UFC Fight Night 97 event.

However, due to an injury suffered in training camp, “The Prodigy” was forced to pullout of the contest and October’s UFC Manila event was later cancelled entirely.

Penn’s withdrawal from the slated scrap with Lamas marked the first-time in the UFC Hall of Famer’s illustrious career that he had pulled out of a fight with an injury.

According to’s Chris Taylor the Hawaiian legend is back in the gym and aiming to return at January’s newly announced UFC Fight Night event in Phoenix, Arizona.

“The Prodigy” was last seen in action at the ‘TUF 19 Finale’ in July of 2014 where he suffered a TKO loss to former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar in a bout that served as his featherweight debut. The UFC Hall of Famer has stated that he is planning on making a run at the promotions 145-pound title.

BJ’s most recent victory came over fellow UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes at UFC 123 by way of first-round knockout.

BJ Penn

Thirteen of Penn’s sixteen career victories have come by form of stoppage (submission/KO).

Tickets for UFC Fight Night Phoenix will go on sale later this month. The card will be televised on FOX Sports 1.

The following six bouts have already been announced for the January 15 event:

Ben Saunders (19-7-2) vs. Court McGee (19-5) – Welterweight bout
Jordan Rinaldi (12-5) vs. Devin Powell (8-1) – Lightweight
Tony Martin (10-3) of Boston vs. Erik Koch (15-4) – Lightweight
Cyril Asker (7-2) vs. Dmitri Smoliakov (8-1) – Heavyweight
Viktor Pesta (10-3) vs. Damian Grabowski (20-4) – Heavyweight
Christensen (13-4) vs. Bojan Mihalovic (10-4) – Light Heavyweight

Who would you like to see the former two-division champion BJ Penn square off with this January 15 in Phoenix?