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BJ Penn returning, likely at welterweight - White

ESPN staff
May 4, 2012 « ESPN Extra Time - Liverpool v Chelsea | Chartbeat test »

Former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion BJ Penn has ended his retirement and will return to the Octagon, president Dana White said Thursday.

"BJ hit me about a month ago," White said during Thursday's UFC on Fox 3 news conference. "I saw him in Sweden [during an April 14 event] and he wants to come back."

Penn announced his retirement inside the cage on October 29 after dropping a lopsided unanimous decision to Nick Diaz at UFC 137.

"This is probably the last time you'll see me in here," Penn said. "I want to perform at the top level. I've got a daughter, another daughter on the way. I don't want to go home looking like this."

Since calling it a career, however, the 33-year-old Penn has hinted at making a return. Despite revealing his intention to fight again, White has neither set a date nor an opponent for Penn.

"That's up to him; whenever he's ready," White said. "I don't ever push guys. Guys know when they are ready; guys know when they're ready to come back. Guys let me know when they are ready to fight."

The only certainty is that Penn will compete at welterweight. "I'm done with telling [Penn] where to go as far as weight goes." White said. "The guy has handled himself in both weight divisions. You get to an age where cutting down to 155 doesn't make sense anymore."

White did, however, reveal he tried convincing Penn to fight Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez. "I tried to do [Melendez vs Penn], but it was at the time when BJ was like, 'Yeah, I'm not fighting for a while," White told MMA Junkie. "He wants to come back."

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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