Penn, UFC Oklahoma
UFC Oklahoma

Despite an unsuccessful return to the Octagon in January where he looked a shadow of his former self, BJ Penn will get back in the cage to face Germany’s Dennis Siver at UFC Oklahoma City in June.

UFC Oklahoma City, an as-of-yet unnumbered Fight Night, will take place on Saturday, June 25 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Although not confirmed, Penn is expected to headline the card with three other bouts announced for the event yesterday. These include the continuation of Johny Hendricks’s middleweight journey as he takes on UFC veteran Tim Boetsch.

One of the original pioneers of the sport and a UFC legend, Penn has a storied history within the promotion having won both the lightweight and welterweight titles. He also became one of the first inductees to the UFC’s modern-era wing of their Hall of Fame in 2015.

Known for his rivalries and fights with Matt Hughes, Frankie Edgar and Georges St-Pierre, the blood and thunder style of the 38-year-old BJJ black belt has made him a firm fan favourite throughout the years.

On his initial return to fighting in January, “The Prodigy” was easily swept aside by young up-and-comer Yair Rodriguez in a very one-sided featherweight bout. The second round TKO loss took his losing streak to four and was followed by calls from many for the Hawaiian to hang up the gloves.

MMA veteran Siver, also 38-years-old, is a much fairer fight for the ageing Penn and perhaps one he can win after being outclassed by Rodriguez last time out.

Having last fought in June 2015 in a unanimous decision loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri, Siver is perhaps best known these days as one of the scalps taken by Conor McGregor on his rise to the top. However, at one point, Siver had won nine from 11 UFC bouts on his second run with the promotion between 2009 and 2012 but that was brought to a halt with a loss to Cub Swanson then a failed drugs test at UFC 168.

Johny Hendricks aims to continue middleweight success against Tim Boetsch at UFC Oklahoma

Also lined up for the UFC’s first return to Oklahoma City since 2009 is former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks who faces Tim Boetsch at middleweight after moving up a weight class due to difficulty making 170lbs.

Hendricks, UFC Oklahoma
Hendricks speaking to the media Credit: UFC/Youtube

After three consecutive losses and finding it increasingly challenging to make the welterweight limit, Hendricks moved up in weight to middleweight. Making his first appearance in the division, “Bigg Rigg” would defeat Hector Lombard via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 105 earlier this year.

Boetsch, meanwhile, had strung together two wins against the late Josh Samman and Rafael Natal in the latter half of 2016 before losing to Jacare Souza at UFC 208 in February.

Also announced for the card, Jeremy Kimball returns for his sophomore effort with the UFC when he takes on Josh Stansbury in the light-heavyweight division and Justine Kish takes on Felice Herrig in the women’s strawweight division.