Before B.J. Penn even stepped into the Octagon on Saturday night, I knew it was over. The sound throttling at the hands of Rory MacDonald simply confirmed what I already thought.
B.J. Penn’s time is up.
I hated watching it because it was inevitable but most held out hope that the old Baby Jay would show up in Seattle. Nope. That time has passed and Penn had little to no chance against a kid with the size and skills of MacDonald. Fighting at welterweight hasn’t really treated Penn right. You can try and count the Matt Hughes fight at UFC 123 but the reality was that Hughes was more washed up than Penn. You would actually have to go all the way back to UFC 46 when Penn choked out a then much more dominant Hughes to find when B.J. was worth his weight at 170 lbs.
That was 2004.
Since then, Penn has gone 1-5-1 at welterweight. Safe to say that his body just isn’t built for the division. It’s actually sad to watch B.J. Penn go out like this. “The Prodigy” had all the talent in the world but didn’t decide to put the dedication behind it until it was too late. At times mindboggling with his brilliance and at others frustratingly underwhelming. The savagely one sided ass whoopin’ at the hands of Nick Diaz spoke in volumes about how the game has passed Penn by. The moment he signed to fight MacDonald after calling him out, it was confirmed that Penn’s time was up. Any MMA pundit in their right mind had to be baffled by the decision. MacDonald is a monster at 170 lbs while Penn could barely scrape the weight limit without being a little pudgy around the middle. Skills are one thing. Size and youth are a whole different can of worms. Couple that with talent and Penn was in for a long night of getting beat down.
To make matters worse, MacDonald possessed a mentality that never stood in awe of Penn’s past achievements. He just wanted to beat up one of his favorite fighters. And that is exactly what he did at UFC on FOX 5. For three rounds Penn slowly realized that he just isn’t built for this anymore as the Canadian slammed punches and kicks into his face and torso. It was ugly, damn ugly.
After the scores were read, the look in Penn’s face was vacant and devoid of much emotion. He didn’t abruptly retire as he did against Diaz. This time he was more resigned to take his lumps and walk away. At 34-years-old, Penn doesn’t have anything left to prove and nothing much to show. It has been a pleasure to watch him in his brilliance, but after going 1-4-1 in his last six fights, maybe it’s time to go now because it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Even UFC President Dana White felt as if he had to add his two cents.
“B.J. will probably retire,” White said at the post fight press conference. “I wouldn’t mind seeing that.”
We wouldn’t either.