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Max Holloway warns B.J. Penn: There's another 'Hawaii kid' gunning for belt

Max Holloway respects B.J. Penn but warns him that their paths may cross if the former two-division champion wants the UFC featherweight belt.

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UFC legend B.J. Penn announced that he would be coming out of retirement last month to capture the featherweight title. Penn, a UFC Hall of Famer and a two-division world champion -- lightweight and welterweight -- is one of Hawaii's most successful MMA fighters, but there's a new Hawaiian talent on the radar: Max Holloway.

The 24-year-old is riding an 8 fight win streak and is knocking on the door of title contention. Since losing to Conor McGregor in 2013, "Blessed" has sharpened and honed his craft and is now ranked as the #4 featherweight in the world.

Holloway has a tremendous amount of respect for B.J. Penn but warned him that there can only be one Hawaiian champion at 145 lbs.

"No one wanted to see him go out the way he did, so I'm glad he's back trying to get some redemption, but him saying he's coming to 145, I'm kind of scratching my head," Holloway told Mike Bohn of MMAjunkie. "He's coming to 145, and he's going to try to go for the belt? He knows there's another Hawaii kid right there for the belt. I don't know if he's saying he might come for the belt and thinking he might want to try to fight me? I have no idea. He knows I'm in the weight class, and he knows people are talking about my title shot."

Penn last fought at the Ultimate Fighter 19 finale where he was dominated by Frankie Edgar in the main event. The loss to Edgar marked his third straight and the 37-year-old announced his retirement shortly after the bout. Penn's last win came six years ago when he knocked out old rival -- now friends -- Matt Hughes at UFC 123.

Holloway found the fight with Edgar hard to watch and thinks BJ would fare better in the lightweight division.

"I'm glad he wants to fight because I didn't want to watch him go out the way he did in the last one," Holloway said. "But I always thought he was best at 155. If he trains hard and he's focused, he's an animal at 155. That run he had with the belt was something special."

Penn captured the 155 lbs. title after butchering Joe Stevenson in 2008 and went on to defend the belt three times before being dethroned by Edgar in Abu Dhabi. The former champion claims he'll be fighting Dennis Siver at UFC 196 but the promotion has yet to confirm the bout.