5 Reasons BJ Penn Should Move Back Down to 155 Pounds
Immediately after the bout, Penn told Joe Rogan that it may be the last time we ever see him in the Octagon, and I was left with my jaw on the floor at the thought.
I don't believe we have seen the last of "The Prodigy" in the UFC, and while I have always admired Penn's foray into the welterweight division, I believe he should end his career with a couple of strong fights at 155 pounds.
Here are five reasons why.
5. He Can't Go out on a Beating from Diaz
It would be a shame if our last visual of BJ Penn in the cage is of an elephant man-like creature, so dejected that he seems like a failure at his profession.
Penn is no such creature, and it adds a bit of salt to the wound if he goes out at the hands of Diaz, a great fighter but not a great example to follow.
He certainly needs to go out on a better note, which means fighting again, and it should be at 155 pounds.
4. Fans Don't Want to See Him Beat Up Again
Fighting is a dangerous and unpredictable sport where anyone can get beaten up or beaten down at any time.
BJ Penn has had a very tough, long career and has rarely been visibly damaged and beaten like he was against Diaz.
In my humble opinion, Penn has been dominated three times in his career, and each time was at 170 pounds. Matt Hughes did it in their second fight, Georges St-Pierre did it in their second fight and Diaz just did it.
Penn lost two close fights to the 155-pound champion recently, and I don't believe he can beat Frankie Edgar.
But, I would put my money on Penn against any other top 155er in the world.
3. The Top Welterweights Are Just Too Good for Him to Handle Anymore
BJ Penn comes from the MMA old school, and he fought in the days of the open weight divisions. Stacking himself up against bigger and stronger opponents has never been an issue.
But, in the ongoing debate about whether size matters, it has finally caught up to "The Prodigy."
Penn used to overcome the size disadvantage because his skills were superior to the big men he was facing. If two men are equally skilled, then size and reach does matter, and both GSP and Diaz have proven that against Penn.
Penn had a goal to once again challenge for the 170-pound title.
But, it has been proven two or three times now that the elite fighters of the welterweight division are just too much for him to handle, making Penn entertaining but irrelevant in the division.
2. It's His Best Chance to Go out Like a HOFer
With 2011 being a prominent year for MMA retirements, there are some valuable lessons to learn from the various fighter's exits.
The Chris Lytle story was an incredible, well deserved ending to a solid, blue collar career, but it also created envy among the likes of Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Mirko Cro Cop and possibly even Matt Hughes.
Lytle deserved the storybook ending he got to his career, but these four men were equally deserving.
While I am not endorsing staged or set-up retirement fights, surely Penn can somewhat shape his fate, ending to the best of his ability without compromising his integrity too much.
Couture deserved better than going out with his tooth flying, Hughes deserves better than a Koscheck pounding and Liddell deserved better than his loss to Rich Franklin.
Penn's best chance for a decent send-off is at 155 pounds. Just sayin'.
1. He Is Still a Contender and Relevant at 155
It has always been said that a motivated BJ Penn is a dangerous BJ Penn, and I just don't see him being motivated at 170 pounds anymore.
The fight with Diaz made him irrelevant for the title, and the title is what Penn was after.
If he can't get a title at 170, then 155 is all that is left, and Penn can still compete with the best in that division and have a chance to win.
Champion Frankie Edgar has proven too much of a puzzle for Penn, but I would take Penn over any other 155er in the world right now. It is said that the winner of Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson is next in line for a title shot.
Does anyone believe that a fresh, rejuvenated 155-pound Penn would lose to either of those two or anyone besides Edgar?
It's 155 or nothing, and have we really seen the last of BJ Penn?
Dwight Wakabayashi is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA and correspondent for MMACanada.net.