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Report: Hughes-Penn III coming to UFC 123

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MMAFighting.com is reporting that former welterweight champions Matt Hughes and BJ Penn will meet for a third time at UFC 123 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan, presumably in the co-main event.

Former UFC champions Matt Hughes and BJ Penn have agreed to meet for the third time, according to MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, who learned of the matchup from sources close to the fight. The bout, which will take place at welterweight, will be at UFC 123 at The Palace in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, Mich.

Hughes also posted at his official website that he and UFC president Dana White had discussed him fighting on the card, though he made no mention of an opponent.

CagePotato.com first reported the possibility of the bout Monday evening.

The two first squared off at UFC 46 in January 2004 for Hughes' welterweight title. In that fight, Penn shocked the world, coming up in weight and submitting Hughes in the first round with a rear-naked choke.

They met again at UFC 63 in September 2006. Through two rounds, it appeared Penn, who took the fight on short notice after Georges St-Pierre had to pull out due to injury, simply had Hughes' number, as he dominated the fight. But Hughes turned it around in the third frame, taking advantage of a tired Penn. Hughes put Penn in the crucifix position and pounded away on Penn's prone head until the fight was stopped.

UFC 123, although officially unannounced, is slated to be headlined by a light-heavyweight bout between former light-heavyweight champions Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto Machida.

The rumored card:

Quinton Jackson vs. Lyoto Machida
Matt Hughes vs. BJ Penn
George Sotiropoulos vs. Joe Lauzon
Phil Davis vs. Tim Boetsch
Tyson Griffin vs. Nik Lentz
Karo Parisyan vs. Dennis Hallman
Gabe Ruediger vs. Paul Kelly
Rory MacDonald vs. Matt Brown