Muñoz expects BJ Penn to return to top form in comeback bout

Nissi Icasiano
Muñoz expects BJ Penn to return to top form in comeback bout

Josh Albelda/RAPPLER

Munoz is not giving up on Penn, believing he can still compete at the highest level despite a two year absence

MANILA, Philippines – Retired Filipino-American fighter Mark Muñoz is not giving up on BJ Penn as the mixed martial arts (MMA) legend will make his return to active competition against number 4-ranked featherweight Ricardo Lamas two months from now.

Fighting for the first time since he temporarily called it a career in July 2014, Penn is set to face Lamas in the main event of UFC Fight Night Manila 2, which takes place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on October 15.

Even though the 37-year-old native of Hilo, Hawaii has been on sidelines for over two years and is coming off a 3-fight losing skid, Muñoz suggested that Penn can turn things around in his upcoming 5-round encounter versus Lamas.

Muñoz, who had a scintillating performance in his May 2015 farewell fight against Luke Barnatt, mentioned that Penn would benefit in his decision to change his camp for his comeback bout.

Penn is currently working with New Mexico-based trainer Greg Jackson, who also mentors the likes of Jon Jones, Carlos Condit and Holly Holm.

“He switched up his camp. He went to Greg Jackson. He is training with a lot of guys there, which is something different for him,” Muñoz told Rappler.

With Penn previously basing his training camp in his hometown, Muñoz stressed that it took a toll on the two-division MMA champion.

“In Hilo, he’s comfortable. Like what I have said before, if you’re not getting challenged everyday, it’s hard to be successful. If you don’t change, nothing is going to happen. He changed it up and switched it up. Now, he is in a different camp,” he said.

Muñoz revealed that when he saw “The Prodigy” during UFC Fight Night Manila 2’s on-sale press conference on Wednesday, August 17, he felt a different vibe from Penn.

“He is doing well. When I hugged him, he feels like this (knocks on the wooden table),” he stated.

Muñoz believes that Penn can make another run in the sport of MMA and defeat Lamas in convincing fashion.

“I believe he can pull the trigger. Just speaking with him, he got the fire, especially when you look at his eyes,” he shared. –

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