The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Wednesday made official the reports that have been surfacing the past couple of weeks, announcing that B.J. Penn will officially defend his UFC lightweight championship against Kenny Florian at UFC 101 on Aug. 8 in Philadelphia. The promotion also confirmed a 205-pound bout between its middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, and former light heavyweight titleholder Forrest Griffin.
"B.J. Penn is called the Prodigy for a reason. He has proven to be dangerous in multiple weight classes but he is definitely at his best at 155," said Dana White, UFC President. "Now the lightweight champ defends his title against top contender Kenny Florian, who has improved by leaps and bounds since his UFC debut on the Ultimate Fighter. Originally known for his outstanding jiu-jitsu skills, Florian is now as well known for his devastating Muay Thai. Both of these guys excel standing and on the ground so I am expecting non-stop action in this world title fight."
Silva has come under a firestorm of criticism for his last two middleweight performances, against Patrick Cote at UFC 90 in Chicago and Thales Leites at UFC 97 in Montreal. Heavily labeled as uninspired, the UFC sees the bout against Griffin as trying to reignite the excitement of Silva's earlier UFC performances, which often resulted in a knockout.
"Anderson Silva is the pound for pound best fighter in the world. He's so good that he demands a serious challenge, someone who can push the pace and make him fight," said White. "To me, nobody fits the bill more than former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. Anderson is tremendously skilled but he's going up a weight class and Forrest is a huge light heavyweight -- this is going to be a war."