Former two-division UFC champ, BJ Penn, abruptly announced his retirement after losing to Nick Diaz on Oct. 29. As expected, the MMA veteran is having second thoughts about his decision, and it seems like a return to the Octagon is inevitable.
UFC president Dana White shed some light on Penn’s situation, after a May 3 “UFC on Fox 3” pre-fight press conference. White actually tried to offer BJ a fight against current Strikeforce lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez, but “The Prodigy” declined the offer.
“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 said in an interview with MMAjunkie.com. “He wants to come back. … I don’t ever push guys. Guys know when they’re ready. Guys know when they want to come back. This isn’t a sport where you can just say, ‘I know your head isn’t in it right now, but get back over here and fight.’ This isn’t that kind of sport. Guys let me know when they’re ready to fight.”
BJ’s desire to return to the UFC certainly isn’t surprising, considering the fact that the 33 year old MMA fighter still has a lot of fight left in him. In his last fight against Diaz, BJ Penn looked really good in the opening round, and there is no question things would have gone a lot differently if he didn’t gas. He out-boxed a technically sharp striker in Diaz (before he got tired), and it’s pretty clear he can still compete with the very best MMA fighters on the planet when he’s in shape.
Like many MMA fans, I would rather see Penn compete in the lightweight division – which seems to be his true weight class. But he seems to have his sights set on the welterweight division. Regardless of the weight-class BJ decides to compete in, I for one can’t wait to see him back inside the Octagon.
MMAJunkie.com, “White: Penn declined Strikeforce’s Melendez but eyeing UFC…”
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.