B.J. Penn will forever be known as one of the most dominant lightweight champions MMA and the UFC have ever seen. That doesn’t mean the 35-year-old welterweight and lightweight champion should fight forever, though.
Win or lose, UFC president Dana White thinks he needs to step in before allowing Penn to continue his career.
“This is B.J.’s last fight possibly,” White said on Tuesday on Fox Sports 1. “If he wins, we’ll see what he does from there, but if he loses, I will actually push for him to retire.”
Scheduled to make his return to the octagon—this time at 145 pounds—against Frankie Edgar, many are left to wonder what version of Penn they’ll see.
Or will it be the guy who only captured one victory in his last six Octagon appearances?
Since 2010, Penn has only seen his hand raised once—a knockout over Matt Hughes, who went on to retire just one year after.
It wouldn’t be fair to completely disparage Penn as a force in the featherweight division, especially since he spent the last two years of his fighting career scrapping with much bigger, stronger fighters at 170 pounds.
It’s possible that fighting smaller, but faster, fighters at 145 pounds is all that Penn needs to recapture the dominance he once enjoyed as a lightweight.
But considering the issues he had with a faster fighter in Frankie Edgar back in August and April of 2010—when Penn was only 31-years-old—it’s highly unlikely that fans will see “The Prodigy” return to his former glory.
Win or lose, Penn’s legacy as one of the best fighters to ever grace the Octagon will last forever.
Kristian Ibarra is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He also serves as the sports editor at San Diego State University's student-run newspaper, The Daily Aztec. Follow him on Twitter at @Kristian_Ibarra for all things MMA.