I remember seeing the UFC back in the brutal days of open weight class tournaments where blood was everywhere. I said then that I didn't know if that would catch on to become mainstream. It seemed too violent to be something that the masses would approve of.
I watched sparingly, and occasionally caught The Ultimate Fighter. But when I finally watched an event, I got hooked and started studying the sport from a fan perspective.
The first main event I saw was BJ Penn versus Sean Sherk at UFC 84. When I saw BJ stagger Sean and go flying in with a knee then ending it with punches, I was all in. BJ did that to me. BJ did that to all of us.
BJ Penn has a ridiculous list of accolades and respect from people inside and outside of the sport. He belongs on the pedestal that holds Matt Hughes, Randy Couture and Dan Severn. A two division champion in the UFC. Winning fights well above the weight he's used to. Fighting former light heavyweight champions (Lyoto Machida). Being the first non-Brazilian to win the World Jiu-Jistu championships in the black belt division. Penn has done it all.
If he truly walks away, he will leave behind a legacy that will be hard for anyone to match. People worldwide will recognize that BJ Penn was truly one of the best to have ever walked into an octagon.