Fans were treated to a dazzling session of open workouts ahead of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night Phoenix.
The crowd was delighted to see BJ Penn, the UFC legend who is returning to the Octagon after an absence of over two years, and Penn was amazed by the reaction he got from fans.
“I feed off of them. They’re everything. That’s why I’m back,” Penn said. “I love the competition, but I [also] love the fans.”
Penn acknowledged the rumblings of doubt surrounding his return, saying: “I don’t blame them. I’ve had some bad fights. [But maybe] I’m supposed to be one of the most well-known fighters there are.”
He also said he hoped tomorrow’s opponent, rising star Yair Rodriguez, is among those doubting his abilities.
“I hope my opponent discounts me. I hope my opponent watches the last tape and says oh, we’ve got to beat that guy,” added the UFC Hall of Fame inductee.
For his part, Rodriguez seemed bemused by the pre-fight talk coming from Penn.
“He’s an expert, and I respect him so much,” Rodriguez said. “But he’s acting like an amateur. I’m not mad with him. I actually respect him so much. I don’t know why he’s mad.”
Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger, John Maraga, and Frankie Saenz were also present at the open workouts.
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