Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn may finally be hanging up the gloves. With his career in limbo following bar brawls and controversies, the Hawaiian legend has gone on record to say that training for a fight, at this point in his life, is just “too much f*cking work.”
In an Instagram Live appearance with coach Jason Parillo (h/t MMA Junkie), the 41-year old said frankly that while he wasn’t sure what might happen, “It takes too much. Too much f*cking work. At this age, it just takes too much f*cking work.” The fighter once known as “The Prodigy” added that “you never know what’s going to happen, but it takes so much work.”
Penn admitted that he has people on both side of the fence, some encouraging him to fight on, while others urge him to hang up the gloves. “There’s so much people telling me to fight again,” said Penn. “Other people telling me don’t fight again. It’s a lot to take in.”
It appears one reason for B.J. Penn sticking around well past his prime is difficulty adjusting to life outside the sport, as he later admitted that “If I could get anything else going in life than just a fist fight, it would be nice.”
“But it’s so fun and I love the process and all those things about it,” he added. “Then you get in the gym and start doing good with active fighters and next thing you know you’re trying to fight and biting off more than you can chew. You might be, you might not be. But the process itself, it’s a lot to just do a camp or whatever.”
Penn had been expected to fight Nik Lentz at some point last year, per UFC President Dana White. However, after video emerged of Penn in a bar brawl ahead of the proposed fight, the UFC opted to release him. The incident was one of two such altercations for Penn, who also rolled his vehicle in an accident that led to a DUI investigation back in February.
Penn (16-14-2) has not won a fight in nearly a decade. His last victory came against Matt Hughes at UFC 123 in November 2010. That knockout led to a fight the following year with Jon Fitch that ended in a draw. Following that, Penn found himself in wars with Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald. Retirement talk swirled after the Diaz fight, and to a lesser extent after the MacDonald bout.
Instead, Penn moved to featherweight, for an ill-fated rematch against Frankie Edgar. That was followed by losses to Yair Rodrgieuz and Dennis Siver, before a return to lightweight. Back at 155lbs, he’d find himself submitted by Ryan Hall in 2018, and lost a decision to Clay Guida last year.
Earlier in his career, however, Penn earned notable wins over Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Matt Serra, Matt Hughes, Duane “Bang” Ludwig, Takanori Gomi, Renzo Gracie, Jens Pulver, and others. Along the way, he held the UFC welterweight championship, and helped build the lightweight division, defending the 155lb title three times before losing the belt to Frankie Edgar in 2010. To that point, only Jens Pulver and Sean Sherk had held gold in the weight class inside the UFC.