Opinion: Should B.J. Penn Call It A Career?
By Michael Hatamoto
Hawaiian MMA veteran BJ Penn might not get another chance to step into the UFC octagon, as UFC President Dana White wants Penn to retire.
Penn (16-9-2 MMA) hasn’t been in the UFC cage since losing a unanimous decision to Rory MacDonald at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz last December. He has won just one fight in his last six, including losses to MacDonald, Nick Diaz and Frankie Edgar (twice) – though did end a rivalry with Matt Hughes at UFC 123 in November 2010.
Penn, a former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion, has been applauded as one of the most physically gifted fighters – but has been heavily criticized for his lackadaisical efforts during training camp.
Here is what White said following UFC 160:
“I want BJ Penn to retire. Dude, you’ve won belts in two different weight classes, you’re one of the greatest ever and you became a huge superstar. You have money, you have a beautiful family. But, it’s hard man, it’s hard to walk out of that arena that is packed with everyone screaming your name and you’re making tons of money. It’s hard to walk away form that – really hard to walk away from that.”
I believe Penn should retire if his heart, mind and body aren’t into training properly to prepare for a fight inside the cage. The former champion doesn’t need the money, he is still active in BJJ and MMA, and could enjoy his post-fighting days lounging on the beach and surfing.
Some would argue Penn shouldn’t be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, but I think Penn has the record and prestige to be one-day included.