The 33-year-old Hawaiian took on all comers, regardless of size, and did so with an intensity of spirit and purity of skill that separated him from the pack and made his mark on the sport indelible. There will never be another B.J. Penn.
So it is that many MMA fans have hoped that The Prodigy would change his mind on the retirement he announced following a unanimous decision loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 137 this past October. Unfortunately for those fans, it doesn’t sound like the proud father has any intentions of dusting off his gloves.
“I haven’t made any plans to come back and fight again, Dana White has actually called me a couple times and talked to me, it’s just something that’s not in my future right now,” Penn said on last night’s UFC on Fuel TV 2 aftershow (props to MMAWeekly for the transcription). “I’m opening the UFC gym, the B.J. Penn/UFC gym in Oahu. I’ve been doing that and I’ve been watching my gym at home. I’ve just been kind of teaching and training, I like it. Just go to the gym; when I feel like training, I train. And, if not, I watch my daughters. That’s all I do.”
It’s not that Penn has completely ruled out a return to action. He acknowledges that there are intriguing fights out there for him, he’s just not all that interested in taking them at this time – although he appreciates all of the fans clamoring for his return.
“There’s tons of match-ups out there. There’s great athletes. The UFC has the best athletes in the world, but I don’t know. In a perfect world, I can’t even see the scenario right now this moment,” he said. “It’s just something that if I feel it, I feel it, and if not we’ll just sit back and watch all the other guys kick butt in the Octagon.
“It’s awesome seeing that they want me to fight again, but as of now I just take my time.”
Penn’s current record stands at 16-8-2, belying his impact on and accomplishments in the sport.