This week, Ariel Helwani caught up with BJ Penn and asked the fighter the million dollar question:
“Are you going to come back or are you done with MMA”
"The Prodigy" replied:
“I’m still just hanging out. Honestly, at this moment, my guess is probably a little better than yours, but I don’t know, I’m just, I’m enjoying what I’m doing. I like what I’m doing.”
On the question of “itch”, Penn scratches his head about Anderson Silva and ponders the question that “Anderson is 39 and he’s in there fighting and I’m like 34, why can’t I fight again; you know? Those thoughts are always going to be there and I think it’s something that’s got to be right though, it’s got to be right for me, there’s no sense in me going into the Octagon and getting beat-up in front of everybody that just doesn’t make any sense.”
If he were to come back, BJ says that everyone has (pretty much) talked him into doing so at 155 and that a big motivation for coming back would be to “win one” for his children and having “them to be able to see it, that would be awesome.”
In listening to his words and more importantly the manner of their deliver, it’s difficult to really fathom that we will ever see Penn back in the Octagon. BJ seems to be very indecisive and only leaving the door open, because he’s hesitant of closing it permanently on this aspect of his life.
Yet, even at 155 and even if he’s motivated to do it for his children, what would the point be?
First, he wants to garner a win so his children can see it, however, there is no guarantee that he could or would cull a victory and the lightweight division is no Sunday afternoon trip to the park. It’s a beast of a division. Sadly, BJ may no longer be capable of being a beast in that division.
Second, if Penn were to only come back for one fight and not a title run, again, what would the point be? To me, it would make no sense and would be a fight of pure titillation and not one of real interest, merit or impact, to the division.
Third, if his motivation is such that he’s barely training (which is the case) how could he be competitive and if not in competitive shape, is there any interest in seeing BJ Penn take another beating? For me, there isn’t.
My view of BJ is this, I love the guy. If you’re a fan, you know why you’re a fan. If you hate him, then the reason you hated him was because he was an awesome fighter and a great nemesis. Under either scenario, he was a joy to watch.
However, his time is done and more so by his own mind than age or anything else. I think BJ has taken 1 too many beatings and defeats and the fight has been literally beaten out of him. He’s done and I think it’s obvious. I do not want him to come back and take another beating. His legacy is what it is, now and it cannot be changed. I hear no talk of title shots, title runs or calling any fighters out. Simply put, I believe he’s packed it in, but hasn’t completely accepted that fact in his head and in his heart.
So, tell us what you think. Would you like to see BJ come back for 1 more fight or would you rather see the Prodigy ride off into the Hawaiian sunset and be remembered for the incredible fighter that he was?