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Nurmagomedov, Dunham Want to Fight Penn

Kelsey Mowatt

Khabib Nurmagomedov

It hasn’t taken long for BJ Penn to find some prospective opponents, following word earlier this week that the legendary fighter may return to action and compete at lightweight. When you’ve accomplished the things Penn has, and have been fighting professionally since for over a decade, it’s not surprising to see fighters calling out the former champ, even if his return isn’t official just yet.

One of the men who is trying to jump to the front of the line, in terms of who might fight Penn next, is Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has gone 4-0 to date with the UFC and is 20-0 as a pro. The Russian fighter, who mauled Abel Trujilo for three rounds at UFC 160 to score a unanimous decision win, tweeted:

“I heard that the legend returns .. I will be glad to meet him. He is the best lightweight fighter in the history, I’m his fan since childhood, I deserve this fight.”

Deserve? Penn may not agree, but there’s no doubt that fighting the 34 year-old vet would be a huge opportunity for the 24 year-old Nurmagomedov.

Another fighter who has expressed his interest in throwing down with Penn is 31 year-old vet Evan Dunham, who is coming off a competitive, unanimous decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FX 8. Dunham’s tweet stated:

“With all respect if BJ Penn needs an opponent when he returns I am more than will (ing). Would be an honor to fight him.”

Of course, Penn has shown an interest in the past to grant fighter’s their desire when they’ve called him out (like Rory MacDonald), but it remains to be seen what type of fighter he wants to face if and when he returns. Is he looking to face another star who is in the latter stages of his career? Or will he want to test himself against a rising lightweight like say Nurmagomedov?  When it comes to Penn it’s hard to say, but regardless of who he fights, it will be intriguing to see how he looks fighting at 155 once again.

Stay tuned to MMA for more on this story as it develops and for all your UFC news.


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