In an interview with Heavy MMA late Wednesday, UFC President Dana White confirmed that welterweight contender Jon Fitch is not being considered as an option to step in and fight B.J. Penn on the co-headlining bout of UFC 137. Said White:
No, Fitch wouldn't be ready for that fight. Because we were going to do Fitch vs. [Matt] Hughes when Diego [Sanchez] fell out, but Fitch isn't ready.
The spot has been vacated after Penn's intended opponent, former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit, was shifted onto the card's main event against current titleholder Georges St. Pierre. Earlier Wednesday afternoon Fitch told MMA Nation's Thomas Myers, "We told the UFC that I'll be ready and willing to fight either B.J. Penn or Nick Diaz."
White refused to reveal who he has targeted as a potential opponent for Penn at this point, though he did suggest that it was someone unexpected.
"If I told you what I want to do with that fight you guys would flip out, so we'll see what happens," he told MMAJunkie.com. "I'll tell you if I can get it done."
MMA Nation will bring you more on this story as it develops.