The former UFC two-division champion revealed that there was no other possible match-up that would have motivated him to drop down to featherweight for the first time.
"If Dana had asked me to come to 145, and fight any other people, there's no way I would have done it," Penn said at the UFC 175 press conference.
Throughout his legendary career in the UFC, BJ Penn has fluctuated between the welterweight and lightweight divisions and, while he managed to win both titles, he had significantly more success as a lightweight competitor. He would win the vacant lightweight title at UFC 80 and would defend it two times before losing it to Frankie Edgar at UFC 112.
While their first encounter was close, their rematch at UFC 118 was considerably more one-sided, and brought an end to Penn's reign as a UFC champion for the foreseeable future.
"I had a good run going at 155," Penn said. "Frankie came in, and one thing about Frankie, he's one of the best in the UFC. Getting the opportunity to coach against him, I realized he's one of the most competitive people. He's not one of those ‘I'm mad at you now and I want to kick everybody's butt. He's just a really competitive person and I think that's going to help me. I've got a very familiar opponent standing on the other side."
Penn appeared humbled and emotional at the press conference, as he nostalgically looked back at his achievements and informed fans that he "always gave it the best shot," even when he comes out on the losing end.
"I want everyone to know that I always gave it the best shot I had, whether it went that way my night," Penn said. "Fighting is my whole life, the UFC is my whole life. Dana and the UFC gave me the opportunity and I always gave the best I could give."
UFC 175 takes place July 5, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada
Transcription taken from MMAFighting.com.