BJ Penn looked different in his third meeting with Frankie Edgar on Sunday.
He looked noticeably leaner in the cage as he was making his featherweight debut, but most fans have been talking about the new style he decided to use against his rival. Appearing on The MMA Hour, Penn's longtime friend and coach Jason Parillo made sure to clear his name.
"I would never in a million years develop that new style," Parillo said. "Never in a million years."
He's not the only one who questioned Penn's new style.
Parillo explained that he had noticed Penn using his upright stance while helping him on The Ultimate Fighter and voiced his displeasure. Rather than risk their friendship, the two men agreed Parillo wouldn't take part in Penn's upcoming training camp:
I got called a week before the fight to work his corner for the fight, so I, myself, hadn't spent time in camp at all with B.J. ... I answered yes automatically because he's my friend. So I didn't know. They explained to me kind of the gameplan the week of the fight, and I was actually rooming with his boxing coach the whole week, so I was listening to him, talking to him about what they were doing. At that point, it's not my position to make any adjustments, like, ‘no, no, no, let's do this, let's do that,' because it's too late for that. It's too late. He's been doing this s--t for two years. What, am I going to come in the week of the fight and change a whole gameplan? Change a whole style around? That's not going to happen, nor does B.J. want me to make that happen. He doesn't want that to happen, he wants to go in there with want they have planned.
Parillo, just like the rest of us, had the agonizing displeasure of watching an MMA legend go down in devastating fashion. Penn was unable to land any punches of significance, and his vaunted takedown defense was nonexistent, something that was no doubt the result of his stance.
During the time that Penn was untouchable at 155 pounds, Parillo helped mold him into one of the best strikers in MMA. Penn's boxing, particularly his jab, was a thing of wonder in a sport that isn't always the most technical.
However, Penn apparently didn't want to reach into his old bag of tricks for the Edgar fight:
I wanted him bending his knees. It's called sitting down on your punch in boxing, and that way you can use your legs to help with your head movement, help with your footwork, help with all this stuff. He just says he doesn't like that style anymore because it made him too tired. So at the end of the day, what can I do?
Penn lost every round in his third meeting with Edgar, and the fight was anything but competitive. Coming from an extended layoff, most fans weren't expecting him to take out a top-five-ranked fighter, but considering he looked to be in the best shape of his life, everyone surely expected him to put up a better fight than he did.
Even Penn's jiu-jitsu game looked nonexistent. He resorted to a "feet on the hips" style of guard that would lead one to believe the Hawaiian would be looking for submissions or sweeps. Yet none of that happened.
Penn announced his retirement following the loss and all things considered, it's probably for the best. He enjoyed a UFC Hall of Fame-worthy career that saw him become one of only two men to win titles in multiple weight divisions in the UFC. He also enjoyed a nine-year span that saw him go undefeated while competing at lightweight.
And Penn enjoyed blazing trails outside MMA as well. He became the first American to win a gold medal at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in the black belt division.
It's pretty telling of Penn's talent level that he started his MMA career back in 2001 at UFC 31 and was still able to headline a card in 2014. The loss is just another example of an MMA legend having time pass him by with the results not being enjoyable for MMA fans.