BJ Penn: “I Came Out of Retirement Because I Wanted to Fight Frankie Edgar Again”

January 9, 2014
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BJ Penn at UFC 107After having been out of the Octagon for more than a year and having lost four of his last six fights, the question swirling over BJ Penn’s head has been: why come back? Why did you step out of retirement and back into the cage?

“I came out of retirement because I wanted to fight Frankie Edgar again,” Penn stated in a recent video interview produced by longtime sponsor RVCA. “I believe I can do better than what I showed fighting with him the second time. When I got the opportunity, it was just a no brainer.”

Frankie Edgar is the man that took the UFC lightweight title from around Penn’s waist at UFC 112. They clashed again at UFC 118 in an immediate rematch, but against Edgar bested the legendary Hawaiian.

While Penn has fought just once in the past two years, Edgar lost the belt and dropped down to featherweight to try and spark some new momentum. He lost his first fight at 145 pounds, to current champion Jose Aldo, but rebounded with a win over Charles Oliveira in July.

When the UFC came calling, offering Penn the opportunity to coach opposite Edgar on The Ultimate Fighter and then try to rekindle his own flame at 145 pounds, it was an intriguing enough idea that Penn couldn’t resist it.

Penn has fought in many weight classes over the course of his career. He won UFC titles at both lightweight and welterweight, defeated Rodrigo and Renzo Gracie at middleweight, and even fought Lyoto Machida in an openweight fight in Japan in 2005. Penn weighed in at 191 pounds, while Machida then tipped the scale at 220 pounds.

The fight with Edgar, however, will mark the first time in his career that Penn has gone as low as 145 pounds, but he looks forward to the challenge. At 35 years of age, he has been a firsthand witness to the evolution of the sport, having begun fighting in the UFC when he was 22.

He realizes the commitment that the sport now demands from its athletes.

“It’s amazing to see it all evolve to this level,” Penn stated.

“I’m going to be fighting Frankie Edgar at 145 pounds. I’ve never been to that weight before, but I feel great. It’s a new chance to show what I got. I’m very excited. Maybe 145 is the best thing that ever happened to me. We’re gonna find out.”

And regardless of what anyone thinks, Penn doesn’t sound like this is a one-off swan song before he finally rides off into the sunset for good. It very well could be if things don’t go his way, but at least for now, it sounds as if this is just the opening leg of a farewell tour, if anything.

“I think I’ll beat Frankie convincingly and I think we’ll be right back in the top in the mix with everybody else.”

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  • Ron Wheeler

    He seems to be doing the right things. Getting a wrestler into his camp and fighting at a weight where he isn’t at a huge size disadvantage. Only concern is that Edgar has his number and will outsmart him again with fancy footwork.

  • Mihael Hajdin

    BJ is cruising for a bruising and Frankie is a cruise

  • candelario

    I love BJ, but he is going to get outpointed again again and again…. frankie is just too quick

    • benoit

      I totally agree with you (on both points) but at the same time I think BJ did more than enough to deserve another fight so I respect his choice to come back and who knows, he is the prodigy after all 🙂

  • The Best Eva

    BJ is going to have to train really hard to make 145, I’m hoping it translates to some added speed and a BJ Penn comeback.

  • fsunoles10

    i am a big fan of both guys but i sure hope penn puts it together at 145 cuz i genuinely miss the guy fighting.

  • TigOlBitties

    BJ Penn is the perfect example of how a lack of character can ruin a championship career. From outright laziness to unfounded accusations of cheating levied against GSP, Penn is proof that the fluke of natural talent and an army of sycophants is no substitute for the character of a champion.

    • fsunoles10

      you’re a bitter nobody

      • TigOlBitties

        Bitter? About what?

    • claudale

      Which accusation, greasing or juicing? The ladder has been made by a lot of people at this point.

  • Rich

    Fight prediction: a competitive first round with Penn losing 10-9. In the 2nd and the 3rd, Penn is completely gassed and does nothing but stand and take a beating. 30-26 unanimous decision for Edgar. Days later Penn has some BS excuse about why he lost; pulled his ribs in 1st round, Edgar cheated, injury in training camp…

    • Wolf Ticket

      You forgot the post fight interview with Joe Rogan where he says he is done and retires 🙂

      Isn’t it gonna be a 5 round fight though?

    • Anthony

      Well if he makes 145 I dont see him gassing the second round, that has only happens against bigger guys for the most part

      • Clubber Lang

        Well Jose Aldo gasses @ 145….so not sure your logic is spot on.

  • Seth

    Actually BJ is one of those few guys that I believe came back because they love what they do. He just loves to scrap, he was lazy, didnt take it seriously as it should – but he loves what he does. This fight with Edgar makes no sense – ranking wise or whatever. But its a fight that BJ wants because he feels that he NEEDS that win. Most likely money had sth to do with his decision for sure – but I believe he came back because he loves it. Should he do this? No. Edgar will get 3rd W over him most likely…I just hope for fun fight 🙂

    • Alex Anderson

      I agree, except supposedly Penn comes from a wealthy family, so it might not have a lot to do with money. Penn always seems like he is a little lacking in the “spiritual” area, he finds fighting rewarding, and he’s super talented at it, but he just seems like he even finds it hard to take fighting as seriously as other elite fighters. I’m not religious, but I think it’s no coincidence that so many fighters are vocally and apparently very committed Christians. A clearer sense of meaning coming from a clearer spiritual/philosophical belief system seems to really help fighters stay focused. Penn seems like what you might call a “lost soul.”

      • Gary Fredericks

        Actually, the highly religous/spirituality of fighters in all combat sports can be attributed to early signs of brain damage from head trauma…much like recovered crash victims go head first into church afterwards. Just Google “head trauma and religion”. It is a well documented phenomena.

        • Ian Price

          Sometimes you need a little hit to the noggin to set you straight

          • Gary Fredericks

            I’ll be the first to admit that I do! LOL

        • Baller31

          Haha I agree, and think that all overly religious people should be checked for head trauma!!

  • CombatScienceMMA

    Breaking news : anderson silva has told rizzo his master that he wants to make a comeback against gsp. He did not mention weidman at all. Therefor, anyone with any common sense can conclude that silva has accepted defeat at the hands of weidman and has accepted the fact that another fight with weidman isn’t wise. Silva isn’t living in the land of what if. I’m a believer now from silvas response.

    • Alex Anderson

      That’s nice, but I think you’re posting in the wrong forum. You failed to tie that to this article.

    • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

      i agree, he also side stepped the Jones fight at LHW. No way he can be called the GOAT if youre ducking fights

      • Jimmy Rebel

        I don’t think it’s considered ducking a fight if it required you went outside of your weight class. making weight isn’t as easy as outsiders think.

        • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

          But Anderson would fight Stephan Bonnar and Forrest at LHW

    • Seth

      Well…He lost to Weidman twice, what he was supposed to do? Walking around and say “Hey, ef that, Im Middleweight Champ and Weidman was lucky”? Then I would seriously start to worry about Anderson’s IQ dropping down to Caraway’s level after being knocked out by Chris. He lost twice and where is news in him “accepting” those losses? Its normal thing

  • Anthony

    Bjs one flaw has always been cardio, he is forcing himself to get in great shape with the fight at 145, hey you never know we might see a bj that weve never seen before

    • shakejunt

      don’t get our hopes up =[

      these some sensitive heart strings

  • Tom Jolley

    let your imaginations flow. BJ beats Edger impressively then gets a fight with Swanson again he wins impressively thats two good wins over top contenders he then gets a tittle shot and becomes the first ever three division champ!

    i just blew your mind,lol

    • Seth

      Nope, you didn’t xD I had that concept in my head for a while, alongside GSP Vs Anderson 🙂 There is a slim, sliiiiiim chance that it may happen…but not really.

  • Jimmy Rebel

    BJ is the type of guy that falls for his own hype, which was justified, he truly is the prodigy. he’s said it himself, his natural talents led him to believe he didn’t need the high level of cardio. he’s 5’9 but he has a small frame, he shouldn’t have fought at 170. I can’t wait to see him at 145 he would be a beast, I think he beats frankie.

  • BobLemons

    The question with BJ is has always been one of cardio and dedication. People are wondering what BJ we’ll see on the night, but if he hits those scales at 145 I think that will answer the question before the fight starts.