BJ Penn is ‘Absolutely a UFC Hall of Famer’ says Dana White

August 2, 2012
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BJ Penn punching Nick Diaz at UFC 137Despite being only 33 years of age, BJ Penn has spent more than 12 years as a professional fighter, most of those years in the UFC Octagon.

He’s fought as low as 155 pounds all the way up to heavyweight. He has even held the UFC lightweight and welterweight titles, respectively.

UFC president Dana White says that the Hawaiian fan favorite is a lock for the UFC Hall of Fame, but believes his conditioning habits have held him back from being considered among the greatest fighters of all time.

“If you look at BJ Penn’s career, count how many times he’s been in phenomenal shape,” White commented on Thursday.

“I love BJ Penn. BJ’s been a huge star for us for a long time, but I think BJ could have been in the talks with who is the greatest of all time.”

There are three key opponents in his career that have held Penn back from the Anderson Silva zone: Georges St-Pierre, Frankie Edgar, and Nick Diaz. All three are fighters that victories over would have propelled Penn to that elite status of the nearly unbeatable, but they’re also fighters that he has thus far been able to topple.

That’s not to say he’s not appreciated or respected. As White said, he’s a shoe-in for the UFC Hall of Fame.

“I’ve said it for years about BJ. BJ is (expletive) tough as nails, has an unbelievable chin, a rock head… if you look at some of the fights where he’s on the bottom, he’s getting smashed; the guy doesn’t cut. I don’t know what his skin is made out of. He’s just this kid that was born and built to fight,” White described the legendary fighter.

“He’s absolutely a Hall of Famer. Not only at the time when people were saying that the 55-pounders couldn’t headline pay-per-views and all this other stuff, BJ Penn became a huge, huge star.”

White did not clarify when Penn would be inducted, but considering he has been in and out of retirement during the past year, Penn is likely on the short list of next in line for the UFC honors.

Penn returns from a brief retirement to fight Rory MacDonald at UFC 152 on Sept. 22 in Toronto.

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  • WarriorScholar

    The most gifted fighter for sure,but lazy as hell.

  • mma fanatic1982

    Ofcourse hes hall of fame! His cardio is only badbad when he moves up in weight, as hes naturally a 55er he as to eat more and obviously u cant really do alot of extra cardio work if u trying to gain weight cause it would burn it off. At 55 he whips butt lol just got a lil old for edgar and its a new generation ufc. More tools more knowledge kids growing up now adays with gyms that r good in all mma aspects as opposed to jusr one or two. Bj penn always.been my fav! Go bj !

  • May not be in the talks for greatest fighter of all time????? When has Silva or GSP ever asked for a title shot in a higher weight class? BJ went after it as soon as he could and got two different titles. he stumble a bit recently but that shouldn’t erase what he did. I think hes hands down the best fighter of all time. Maybe you can make a point when GSP goes after the middle weight belt or Silva goes after the light heavy.

  • mma fanatic1982

    Agreed! He won belts in two divisions. Plus he ran the lw division what can be easily argued as the most stacked and talented divisions! Ww is a very good division too. Weakest division mw!

  • pooby

    Penn is a Hall of Famer simply for producing that picture above.

    No other accomplishments are necesary.

  • mma fanatic1982

    Lol! Only wish. Bj was a natural ww so he could have cardio up there. He wouldve destroyed diaz but cardio got em. Fresh fresh rnd all bj. Dont say he dont have cardio dana lol u know how much cardio it takes ti run around with 55ers. Heres a clue, way more than ww. But how can he ryn get shredded or in shape for a ww fight. If he did he wiuldnt make weight! Irs ok dana i still like u lol.

  • bradwesley

    I don’t think it is the younger generation of Light weights that is a problem I believe it is Edgars speed.

    Other than Benson his speed has been too much even for the new lightweights.

    I think Penn could beat any lightweight out there today except Edgar.

    he is impossible to take down at Lightweight except for Edgar and that had more to do with the speed of the takedowns and we all know his boxing is better than any ones at lw

    • markrenton

      Frankie just had the perfect style to beat BJ. His speed, foot work and wrestling background were just too much for BJ to counter. That being said, I totally agree with you in that BJ would beat any other LW out there right now. Outside of Frankie, BJ embarassed every LW he fought.

      What other LW on the planet would go and fight Lyoto Machida (and give him a good fight)? He also submitted Matt Hughes and Gomi at a time when those two were dominating everyone. Fans always bring up the last GSP fight, but does everyone remember the first time they fought? BJ beat the hell out of GSP for more than half of that first fight and got robbed on a split decision, IMO.

      Like mentioned already, anyone who doubts his HOF credibility is not a true MMA fan. This guy is just a warrior and Id love to see him go out and end his career with a big win.

  • Yeah you don’t have to like BJ, but if you don’t consider him hall of fame you pretty much aren’t an MMA fan.

  • worldchamp

    Hall of Famer? I think so. I just think he could have done so much more with his talents if he was a bit more motivated to train harder during his career.

  • mma fanatic1982

    He was motivated in lw. Ppl forger hes not a ww, he dont cut to make ww. He moves up in weight, so if he did cardio out the butt hed lose weight thus 155 fighter. He looked great in lw which requires great cardio to fight in. And even thoufh he didnt have the body for ww he still beat a dominant ww champ matt hughes for the belt. And the machida fight wow he had to get fat too get to that weight to fight machida, and out of shape (cause he had to be to make that weight) bj still brought it hard to machida whoa only losses come too jones, rua, rampage. That speaks volumes of bj skills, to move up that much and still sompete well. He had to be motivated to move all the way up to lwh to fight. To pack on all that extra weight just to fight knowing your way out of your weight division. Thats alot of haeart and dedication to fight.