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White: Penn declined shot against Melendez for Strikeforce title

The B.J. Penn saga continues. Following a loss in October, 2011 to Nick Diaz, Penn announced his retirement. Since then the fans have clamored for the lightweight legend to return to the sport. It seems Dana White has already been making attempts behind closed doors at luring him back as well. White admits that they offered Penn a straight title shot against Strikeforce lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez.

“I tried to do [Melendez vs. Penn], but it was at the time when B.J. was like, ‘Yeah, I’m not fighting for a while,'” White told MMAjunkie.

So as of now it looks like Penn will be returning on his terms. He may not have a fight set, but by White’s words it sounds like will see the Hawaiian former champ back before the year is out.

“He wants to come back. I’m done with telling him where to go as far as weight goes. The guy’s handled himself in both weight divisions, and if he wants to come back at 170 – plus you get to an age where cutting down to 155 just doesn’t make sense anymore. Whenever he’s ready. I don’t ever push guys. Guys know when they’re ready. Guys know when they want to come back.”

The hopes of fans seeing Melendez on the huge UFC platform is still not possible according to White.

“Gilbert Melendez is a Strikeforce fighter,” White said. “He’s been great in dealing with it. He wants to come over here, and he wants to challenge himself against the best, and I know a lot of other people want to see it, too, but he’s in that Strikeforce deal.

For Strikeforce champ, Melendez, the bout would of been a dream match-up, bringing attention over to the fellow Zuffa organization. Unfortunately for him, he will likely need to keep winning and play out his contract in order to test himself against the top names in the sport.

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