by Daniel Holzhauer
The image of a battered and bloodied BJ Penn standing across the octagon from Nick Diaz and awaiting a losing decision is the antithesis of ‘The Prodigy’s’ legend. For a long time, it seemed impossible to inflict that kind of damage on the multi-division UFC champion. Once regarded as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, BJ has slipped from the minds of many and that fact does not sit well with Baby J.
“No one says my name when they are talking about the greatest fighters anymore, and I really don’t like that. It really bothers me,” he said on the UFC on Fox 5 media call, “I know it’s my fault and I’m the reason why people don’t talk about me when they talk about GSP or Anderson Silva. My name was always in the mix. It’s never in the mix any more.
With a 16-8 record and a 1-3-1 streak in the UFC, it’s easy to see how future generations may dismiss the greatness of BJ Penn. And with multiple titles hanging on the walls of his Hilo, Hawaii gym and the admiration of nearly every fighter in MMA, it would have been easy for Penn to pack it up forever.
“I was just kind of hanging out contemplating on the beach whether to fight again,” he added to the media call. “I realize I can’t do this forever, so I might as well make the most of it if I can.”
It would have been even easier for him to take a soft fight and bolster his record while sailing, or surfing, into the sunset. Instead, he chose Rory MacDonald, a young, hungry monster from the team of his biggest rival.
BJ said on the media call, “I think he’s a great opponent. He is an up and comer, one of the top guys. Everyone says he’s going to be a champion soon. Ending up with a fight against Rory, it wasn’t a tough decision. I’ve said in a couple of interviews I’d like to have a fight with team Tristar again.”
So once again, whispers of the ‘motivated’ BJ Penn emanate from The Big Island.
And although many have questioned BJ Penn’s work ethic in the gym, nobody has ever accused him of taking the easy road in the cage.
“You know what I would do if Dana called me and said fight the champion above,” he said of Georges St-Pierre’s wariness of fighting Anderson Silva. “You know what I would do.”
What are your thoughts?