2-time champ BJ Penn returns to UFC in Phoenix main event

B.J. Penn (blue gloves) will be fighting for the first time since his bout with Frankie Edgar in July 2014.
Stephen R. Sylvanie/Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

UFC legend and two-time champion B.J. Penn will make his return to the UFC when he fights Yair Rodriguez in the main event of the UFC Fight Night Phoenix event on Sunday, Jan. 15 at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

The featherweight fight will be a contrast of generations, featuring the 37-year-old Penn vs. the 24-year-old Rodriguez.

Penn, who fights out of Hilo, Hawaii, will compete for the first time since July 2014. He is one of only three fighters to win UFC titles in multiple divisions — joining Randy Couture and Conor McGregor. His first title belt came as a welterweight in 2004, and his second as a lightweight in 2008. He takes a 16-10-2 record into the fight.

Rodriguez, who fights out of Chicago, is ranked 11th among UFC featherweights and brings a seven-fight winning streak into the Phoenix event. He has a 9-1 career record and has earned Fight of the Night or Performance of the Night bonuses in three of his last four bouts.

The January card marks UFC's first return to Phoenix since 2013. Tickets will go on sale in early December, and the card will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.

Yair Rodriguez (red gloves) lands a punch to the head of Alex Caceres during his split-decision victory in August, 2016, in Salt Lake City.