Former UFC welter and lightweight champion BJ Penn is a legend in the sport of MMA. Renowned for his grappling skills, the 35-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master has long been an Octagon standout when it came to ground fighting.
Recently retired from the sport after having suffered a third round TKO loss to career rival Frankie Edgar at this past July’s “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 19 Finale: Edgar vs Penn III, “The Prodigy” is now keeping busy with his family and business interests (BJPenn.com and BJ Penn UFC Gyms).
In a Q & A with his namesake website, Penn discussed several subjects regarding his future plans, including “The Prodigy’s” possible participation in a Metamoris grappling competition.
Regarding his thoughts on the matter, Penn commented that he cannot rule out the possibility of competing in Metamoris. However, as his first “love” is mixed martial arts he thinks that it would be “tough to go back to anything else.” Further, Penn remarked that if he does participate in a grappling tournament that he will not train for the event. By Penn’s tell of it, he does not feel that it would be worth spending the money on preparing for it.
“When it comes to the competition aspect of anything I just love the Ultimate Fighting so much. I’ve been involved with it for so long. I’m just so used to training for a fight, in those ways, you know, it’d be tough to go back to anything else. I’m not totally counting myself out from doing any professional grappling competitions but one thing that would be different is, I wouldn’t train at all for it. I cannot see myself spending money, bringing people down and this and that, for a grappling competition at this point in my life.”
In considering his opinion on the matter, it is hard to not be left with the impression that “The Prodigy” does not already miss the Octagon. As Penn commented in interview, age and motivation had nothing to do with his decision to retire. Rather, Penn called it a day because he was “burnt-out” from putting forth the effort in training camp and not getting his “hand raised” on fight night.
“I think I should stay retired. One thing I know is that I put a lot of effort, a lot of energy into this camp. I trained for the last year to do this camp, to do this fight, and one thing at my age…I love training, I was looking to do five fights, but now that I look back and I’ve fought the last four or five times without any reward… I’m getting very burnt-out, very exhausted, and very discouraged to not have my hand raised, to not have a smile on my face after the fight, and it’s been a long road and a long fight. If you saw me spar in the gym or workout with any of these guys you would say, ‘man, this guy should be fighting everybody.’ But after the last few fights I’m kind of getting tired… I love the training, I love all this stuff but maybe the age, I’m at the point where sitting around for a couple of months waiting for your sparring partners to get there…maybe that’s just something I don’t want to do anymore. Who knows? I don’t know. I could have sworn everything was good this last camp but, you know, things ended up that way.”
Might Penn return? He does let the door open even if it is just a little bit. However, if he were to ever be serious about it, he should probably move to a club such at the American Kickboxing Academy. He needs to be surrounded by a room full of killers who are always training and who are not part of Penn’s regular entourage. If “The Prodigy” is not prepared to do that, then he should probably just enjoy his retirement.
Photo courtesy of BJ Penn