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Penn explains why he turned down Melendez

ESPN staff
May 8, 2012 « Miller pulls out of Rangers bid | Chartbeat test »
BJ Penn still feels he has unfinished business in the UFC © Getty Images
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BJ Penn has explained why he chose not to fight Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, revealing he thought it would be a step down to fight outside the UFC.

Penn is expected to step out of retirement at some point in the future, with UFC president Dana White adamant he will fight again. However, White revealed the Prodigy turned down a big fight with Melendez, something Penn does not deny.

"It was right after the Nick Diaz fight [which Penn lost convincingly]," Penn told The MMA Hour.

"[White] offered a fight against Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce. We sat down and we thought about it for a little while. We talked back and forth.

"It was kind of one of those things where I guess at the end of the day we thought about it a thousand different ways and we were like, 'Is that downgrading yourself fighting in Strikeforce? If you win the Strikeforce title are people going to say you did it because you couldn't win the UFC title?'

"At the end of the day, it just didn't make sense to us."

White believes Penn will, at some point, return to the UFC welterweight division in the future. However, Penn insists it is still his dream to be world champion again, which would suggest lightweight is his more viable option - given that Georges St-Pierre still reigns at 170lbs.

"You have dreams and aspirations to what you can accomplish," Penn said. "You never know what's going to be reality at the end of the day. I don't feel like I've done enough. I'd love to become a world champion again. I'm sure every fighter out there, that's all they think about all the time."

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