UFC 152 in Toronto is beginning to take shape as former two-division UFC champion BJ “The Prodigy” Penn is set to come out of his self-induced retirement to take on rising Canadian prospect Rory “Ares” MacDonald in the co-main event of the Sept. 22 fight card.
While bout agreements have not been signed by the two welterweight fighters, both fighters have verbally agreed to the match up and UFC president Dana White said in a media scrum after the “UFC on FX 3: Johnson vs. McCall” post-fight press conference that he expects the bout to take place.
White also said UFC matchmaker Joe Silva will be working on having the fight signed over the course of the weekend.
MacDonald (13-1) challenged Penn to the fight on a recent edition of Ariel Helwani’s “The MMA Hour” podcast, and while many felt the challenge would go unanswered, Penn accepted the challenge just days later. At just 22-years-old, MacDonald is already 4-1 under the UFC banner with impressive wins over Mike Pyle and Nate Diaz with his lone lose coming to UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. Penn is undoubtedly the biggest name MacDonald has been matched up thus far in his career, and the bout will show the true potential of the British Columbia native.
Penn (16-8-2) retired from the sport of mixed martial arts following his lopsided unanimous decision loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 137 in October of 2011. It was the consensus among MMA fans that the future UFC Hall-of-Famer was going to be lulled back to the sport eventually, but his choice to come out of retirement to face MacDonald was somewhat surprising. The 33-year-old is 1-3-1 in his last five bouts and will look to get back on the winning track by taking out the talented up-and-comer.
UFC 152 goes down September 22 from the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The event is tentatively scheduled to feature a headlining bout for the UFC heavyweight championship between current champion Junior dos Santos and former champion, Cain Velasquez.