BJ Penn: I'm just like anybody else

by Kirik Jenness |

BJ Penn, 35, retired in the cage following a loss to Frankie Edgar in the main event of the TUF 19 Finale. At the post fight press conference he was asked to define his legacy, but, emotionally overcome, he simply put his head down.

Then Penn got stitched up, and was able to reflect on what he has accomplished. Penn cited winning a UFC belt in two divisions (only Randy Couture has done the same) and his rivalries with Matt Hughes (2-1), Georges St-Pierre (0-2), and Frankie Edgar (0-3).

“My best moment in the UFC, I guess now that I look back, it’s the two belts in the two weight classes,” said Penn as transcribed by Steven Marrocco for MMAJunkie. “I really wanted to see if I could make it three, but you’re talking about the best guys in the world.

“I think that’s what made my career something to watch is that I did have these rivals throughout the years. Everybody always talked about Roy Jones at the beginning of his career. He never had anybody to fight against, and that’s what makes a career great. I was actually blessed to have these rivalries with these three people.”

While Penn's 16-10-2 record is not extraordinary, numbers don't tell the story in MMA. Randy Couture's record is 19-11-0. If ever there was a sport that lives up to the promise in Grantland Rice's great poem, it is mixed martial arts.

For when the One Great Scorer comes
To mark against your name,
He writes – not that you won or lost –
But how you played the Game.

“It would be the strangest thing,” said Penn. “I’d lose a fight, and I’d go walk down the road, and I couldn’t walk down the road. I’d say I’m getting more famous every time I’d lose a fight.

“People could connect with me; they felt that I was just a normal human being. In the off-season, I’m overweight, and I’m just trying my best, just like anybody else. I think the appeal was that here he is, he’s just a normal guy like us, and he’s giving it his all.”

Penn realized that it was time to retire, and why, in the cage, right before the fight was stopped in the 3rd due to elbows.

“When the blood started going in my eyes and everything and the fight started getting real tough, I realized it takes a high, high energy level to compete with the top people in the world,” said Penn. “You can have every technique figured out, you can have this and that and all your theories ready to go, and at the end of the line is you need a high energy to compete against these guys.

“They’re very hungry, they want to be the best. I can sit here a thousand times and say the sport passed me by, but there’s just such quality people in the UFC at the moment.

“You look at somebody like Frankie Edgar, and you think, ‘That little guy,’ but these guys, they want it. And even if you’re sitting there and you think you’ve got something figured out, or you’re going to surprise somebody with (something), first thing you’ve got to do is have more heart than these guys. That’s what all these people have a lot more (of). You can’t see that looking at them; you can only see it by feeling it.”


tags: UFC   BJ Penn (detail)  


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Recent Comments »

Yussarian site profile image  

7/7/14 6:53 PM by Yussarian

Exactly. He never looked for an easy fight.

kingwank site profile image  

7/7/14 5:52 PM by kingwank

BJ said his legacy was holding two UFC titles at the same time, but I disagree with him. That's not what I'll remember him for.  What I will choose to remember BJ for is for being a guy who would fight any man on the planet. The saying, “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog” seems fitting. Of his 10 losses, they were to 7 men -- Jens Pulver, Lyoto Machida (at 225 lbs.), GSP, Matt Hughes, Frankie Edgar, Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald.  He ducked nobody.   That's what I'll remember. 

pennviachoke site profile image  

7/7/14 5:10 PM by pennviachoke

Rough day for a lot of us bro

Billyz site profile image  

7/7/14 5:05 PM by Billyz

the guy was a phenom and literally fought anyone any size. His fans could be very annoying at times but to question the fighters heart and skill would be criminal. He IS a true martial artist with a great warrior spirit who truly meant it when he said , just scrap. Really is a legend in the sport. I mean for fucks sake he fought Lyoto who went on to be a LHW champ and fought for the MW title the night before. The he goes in and fights at an even lighter weight.Has anyone fought in so many weight classes at such a high level with some medium of success?Best wishes to him

stainlesssteel site profile image  

7/7/14 1:16 PM by stainlesssteel

don't know who is cutting onions, but someone seems to be deleting posts. if you'e gonna censor posts just because you don't agree with what the person says (all I said was BJ was not aggressive last nite, respectfully too) then I don't need to support the site with a blue name and when time comes to renew, I will pass. a site is interestinig when there is a difference of opinons, not everybody drinking the same kool aid.

BurnMyEyes site profile image  

7/7/14 1:07 PM by BurnMyEyes

who keeps cutting all those damn onions!

KidPittsburgh site profile image  

7/7/14 1:03 PM by KidPittsburgh

That's where we disagree. I believe--firmly--that BJ went into that fight expecting to compete but had a 'come to Jesus moment' when the blood started getting in his eyes. That was the point of my quote. I wasn't throwing quotes out there just for the sake of it being 'cool words' or anything like that. The guy truly went out there to 'go for it' and got met with reality and is now coming to grips with getting old and not being good enough. You looking past that and calling it disappointing is so far absurd, it speaks volumes about you.

Charizard site profile image  

7/7/14 1:02 PM by Charizard

Bye bye

Malvert the Janitor site profile image  

7/7/14 12:58 PM by Malvert the Janitor

You're not a fan.You're an entitled consumer.

stainlesssteel site profile image  

7/7/14 12:56 PM by stainlesssteel

enough with the dumb quotes dude. quotes mean squadippy in a fight. one thing a fighter should NEVER admit, is to admit that he should not have taken the fight. honest yes, but HUGE insult to fans expecting competition. BJ didn't compete at all last night and if that ain't dissappointing to you, well, you must be a Chael Sonnen fan.