BJ Penn returns to the cage for the first time since 2011 as he squares off against Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 5.
Throughout The Prodigy's illustrious career he has compiled 16 victories. Many of those have been astonishing performances.
The former lightweight and welterweight champion has knocked out and submitted some of the very best in the sport. He exploded onto the scene in 2001 and remains a fan-favorite today. While we await his performance on Saturday we can look back to what he has already been able to do in his career.
Here are Penn's top 10 career performances.
From the outset it looked as if Florian was trying to implement a GSP-esque game plan. However, he is not GSP and at lightweight Penn did not have such a large man pressuring him.
He stuffed the takedown attempts and outworked Florian.
Penn took over the fight and got Florian to the mat in the fourth round where he would finish. Penn would retain his lightweight championship with a rear-naked choke at 3:54 of the fourth frame.
It was a solid performance from the champion, but the fight did not blow the roof off the building. It was a workmanlike performance by Penn. He came, he saw, he conquered.
Penn's second career bout was at UFC 32 against Din Thomas. Penn was definitely being thrown in to the deep end of the pool.
It's a good thing he can swim well.
Penn showed his dexterity early in the fight. Just see the above picture. On the feet is where he put the division on notice.
A knee dropped Thomas and Penn followed up with devastating punches before the ref could save Thomas from more destruction by Penn. The finish came at 2:42 of the first round. Quick and decisive.
The rematch fans of the lightweight division had been waiting for. Jens Pulver defeated Penn at UFC 35 for the UFC Lightweight Championship, and it ate at Penn every day until the rematch.
It was live and free on Spike TV. The main event to the finale of The Ultimate Fighter season five.
Penn got after Pulver early. He closed the distance and put him on the mat with a quick flurry and then went to work with his jiu-jitsu. Penn nearly had an armbar and a triangle early in the fight but Pulver survived and escaped the first round.
The second round was all Penn once again. Eventually, Penn would trap an arm of Pulver rendering him unable to defend the rear-naked choke. Pulver was forced to tap, but Penn held on to the choke just a little bit longer to make his point.
That was Penn's return to lightweight and put him in a position to reclaim the top spot in the world at that weight class.
That is all it took.
The two clashed early, and it is safe to say Penn got the better end of the deal. He blasted Uno over and over with his right hand. After the referee peeled him off Uno's body he ran out of the cage and up the ramp. An early trademark of the young lightweight.
The victory put him in the UFC Lightweight Championship fight against Pulver.
11 seconds and Penn made the UFC highlight reel. One that continuously gets replayed even now.
11 seconds to dispatch Uno, and 21 to take care of Hughes in their rubber match.
Penn took control of the center of the Octagon right away and swung away. Penn dropped Hughes with a swift right and put him out on the ground.
It was slightly anti-climatic to one of the UFC's most anticipated rematches. Two legends and former champions meeting to settle a score and it was all over in 21 seconds.
Penn won his return to welterweight and it looked like he might be able to make another run to the top of the division. However, that would be the last win on Penn's record. That could change Saturday night.
Penn would get his shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship again as he met Joe Stevenson for the vacant title thanks to a positive drugs test by Sean Sherk.
Stevenson got beat down.
Penn dominated Stevenson from the outset and it was a bloodbath. Stevenson was a mess as Penn beat him until he was able to slip his arm underneath for the rear-naked choke in the second round. Penn became only the second fighter in UFC history to win titles in two separate divisions.
Stevenson was one of the top contenders in the division in the beginning of 2008, but it was clear he was not at Penn's level. The mismatch gave UFC fans a classic dominant Prodigy performance.
Diego Sanchez said he was going to give Penn a war, but Penn clipped Sanchez early and nearly finished in the first round.
Penn dominated Sanchez from bell to bell. Sanchez would recover enough to try and take Penn down, but his legendary takedown defense was on point that night in Memphis, Tennessee.
The fight would end by doctor stoppage in the fifth and final round.
Penn hit Sanchez with a high kick that opened a nasty gash on Sanchez's forehead. Herb Dean halted the fight so the ringside physician could take a look and the fight was stopped. Penn was en route to a dominant decision win, but thanks to a well-placed high kick he got the finish.
Penn jumped up to welterweight for the first time to take on Matt Hughes for the title.
Hughes was taking the lightweight lightly and that proved to be a fatal mistake.
Penn got his opponent on the mat early and nailed Hughes with a good punch that rocked him. That enabled Penn to take Hughes' back and finish with a rear-naked choke at the 4:39 mark. It was an upset of one of the most dominant champions in the company's history.
Penn was barely touched in the fight, and captured gold for the first time in the UFC. He would leave the UFC after this fight and be stripped of the title, which he would never recapture.
Sean Sherk was returning from his suspension and was eager to get his championship back, but BJ Penn was now the proud owner of the UFC lightweight title.
Sherk was not able to take Penn down and use his excellent top game to stifle the champion. Penn established his jab early and made Sherk pay every time he got close.
Late in the third round, Penn rocked Sherk and had him reeling. He followed Sherk up against the cage and leaped with a knee that caught Sherk flush. Sherk crumpled and Penn dropped more punches to his dome. The horn sounded for the end of the round, but Penn waved it off. He knew the fight was over.
Shortly after the fight was officially called.
Penn ended any doubt who the best lightweight in the world was on that night.
Penn's best performance did not come under the UFC banner at all. After a draw with Caol Uno at UFC 41 for the lightweight championship, Penn went home to Hawaii for a showdown with a fighter many considered one of the top fighters coming up at 155.
The Hawaiian dominated the young gun of the division. He put on a show for the local crowd.
At the end of the fight, Gomi was a bloody mess. Penn finished him in the third round at 2:35.
Gomi would go on to big things in PRIDE and Penn would win the UFC Welterweight Championship in his next fight. But on that October night in 2003, Penn embarrassed Gomi. Gomi was worn out by the beating and had to succumb to the rear-naked choke.
Both the level of competition and dominance was impressive, making this BJ Penn's top performance in his career.