Rory MacDonald is BJ Penn’s Shot at Redemption

June 14, 2012
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Georges St Pierre vs BJ Penn at UFC 94BJ Penn may not have the most stellar overall record in the world of mixed martial arts, although unlike boxing, 16-8-2 is still rather impressive; especially considering that he’s fought the highest levels of competition throughout his entire career.

Add to his record that, unlike most modern day fighters, he began his professional career inside the Octagon more than a decade ago.

Penn’s career is quite similar to UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, right down to the bumpy relationship with UFC brass over the years.

Penn has fought the best of the best. He won UFC titles in two weight classes. He’s faced seven different UFC champions. He’s fought opponents everywhere from lightweight to heavyweight.

In short, he’s a shoe-in to join Couture in the UFC’s Hall of Fame.

So why, after retiring following his loss to Nick Diaz at UFC 137, would BJ Penn come out of retirement a few short months later to face rising talent Rory MacDonald at UFC 152 in Toronto?

“The reason I came back to fight Rory after he put that challenge out, Rory is a guy with a lot of hype around him and it’s a lot of good hype. That hype is justified. He’s been doing very well,” explained Penn on a recent episode of UFC Tonight on Fuel TV.

“I wanted to go up against him, Firas (Zahabi), the whole Tri-Star team. They’ve got a good thing going on up there and I want to try and take a crack at it.”

So it’s not so much the fight specifically with MacDonald, but the factor that he would once again be facing someone from the Tri-Star gym in Montreal, home to Penn’s nemesis, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

Penn has twice fought St-Pierre. He lost a split decision in a war of a fight at UFC 58 in 2006, but then didn’t have a strong showing in their rematch three-and-half years ago at UFC 94.

St-Pierre dominated their second bout, although the fight was later marred by accusations that GSP was “greased up” for the fight.

Now, however, Penn seems to believe that, regardless of the “grease gate” accusations, he didn’t give the best accounting of himself at UFC 94. He now wants to redeem himself.

“I really feel that I could have put on a better performance (at UFC 94). I want to give it another shot and I want to walk away after that knowing that everything was left in the Octagon,” said Penn.

“I definitely want to get redemption for UFC 94. Win, lose or draw, I just wanna let them know who I am. And going up against all of (Tri-Star) as a whole, they got a good thing going, they got many great fighters coming out of that gym, and I know of course they’re going to have Rory prepared.”

Penn is a proud man, and he’s always been out to prove something much bigger than titles and other accolades. The Hawaiian has always wanted to go down in the annals of history as one of the best fighters on the planet.

To many, he’s already done that. To be sure, Penn has a rabid fan base that believes he has nothing left to prove.

But perhaps the lone person left that wants proof is Penn himself.

Faced with the prospect of walking down the beach and into the sunset, never to look back at the Octagon, Penn doesn’t want to do that with any regrets.

Perhaps he just needs to prove to himself that the fire still burns inside; that whether this is a one-time return to Octagon or not, the flame that has always driven Penn isn’t going to burn out, even as his fighting career fades away.

“What I’m going to use is my inner fire, my inner fight. I always felt that I wasn’t an athlete, I was a fighter, and I’m just gonna go out there and just gonna fight my heart out.”

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  • bajafox

    Great explanation from BJ on why he took this fight. Can’t wait to watch it, sounds like he’s fired up

  • I for one am still not sure why he is coming back, other than he just likes to fight. This wont erase the utter domination St. Pierre displayed over him in their final fight. Beat by St. Pierre twice, beat by Edgar twice, Penn has nowhere to go now.

  • Triggerman99

    This sounds awfully familiar to me……
    Weren’t those of us who said this exact same thing last week told that we were way off base and that BJ was in no way doing this as revenge/redemption against GSP and his camp?

    Ahhhh…..the smell of vindication!!! LOL
    I’m just kidding. He did also make mention of Rory’s hype, so there is a bit of truth to that thought, as well (though it seems it’s very much mostly about revenge, according to BJ’s own words).

    • RubeKegal

      Yeah where is that idiot macgrubber? He’s the one who said it was “dumest thing ive ever herd”

      • Triggerman99

        He’s off somewhere trying to convince himself that no one cares about BJ, and that GSP and Rory are dating.

        • Triggerman99

          OK, that was unnecessary on my part, but when I voice a simple suggestion on a subject, and someone says it’s the “dumest thing ive ever herd”, I don’t really feel all that bad about it. LOL

          • MrAdidas

            Triggerman: I believe we pretty much said the exact same thing about why BJ was taking this fight, based on our “opinion”. I think I may have even commented on your post after I posted mine. I also got the same BS from Mach0m0. Though I do not see him commenting on this story or on our comments. Maybe’s he taking “our” advice that he should do the world, but especially his parents a favor & hang himself … I know it’s a little harsh, but the guy is a f*ck*ng ASS clown.

            I think he’s so angry b/c he has a jello c0ck.

        • macgrubber

          Im of somewhere getting my dik wet you idiot. Dont have time to sit and argue with you forum morons.

      • macgrubber

        Sorry rube i actually have a life and cant read every post the minute is comes out. Im glad you remember me though.

      • macgrubber

        I was out living my life instead of sitting on my computer. Sorry bro but it was and still is the dumbest thing i ever herd

      • macgrubber

        whats with the name calling you jelly that i get laid bro? it was and still is dum.

        • RubeKegal

          4 responses but claims to be getting laid. LOL

          upset because this article basically is titled, “Macgrubber is a mental midgit”?

          Face it you got rectally invaded and are upset.

    • phrankthetank

      I truly didn’t think BJ was that petty, but credit where credit is due. You were right.

      • Triggerman99

        And due credit back to you for showing up and acknowledging that. That’s a classy move right there.




    • phrankthetank

      give it a rest


    • I remember BJ looking for an excuse to get out of that fight, and I also remember BJ’s face after he was embarassed by Diaz. BJ is going to get a serious dose of extreme ground and pound against Rory. He isn’t motivated anymore, yet he always does a great job of hyping fights. Rory wins this fight. Take down and beat down, just like GSP did. BJ stands in the corner after the 3rd round breathing hevily, and like his second fight against GSP, will look for a way out. I’m tired of these “retired” fighters coming out of “retirement.” Rory sends BJ home with a bruised body, and bruised ego. Enjoy the fight blackhawaiian, it’s the last you’re going to see of BJ Penn in the UFC octagon until his Hall of Fame induction.

    • ThePilot

      Sounds like Penn’s coming back for all the wrong reasons. Rory’s too big and strong for him and obviously has better cardio. Penn’s going to be a mess after this one.

  • I think this is an odd fight for him to take, but whatever. He’s earned the right to pick and choose his fights and if this is the one he wants, then so be it. MacDonald, Koscheck, a cold… I don’t care, I’ll watch BJ fight anyone.

  • This is amazing news, i love Penn, he has impressed the hell out of me with is boxing skills. I really hope he keeps on fighting, he is amazing to watch.

  • ThePilot

    Sounds like BJ’s coming back for all the wrong reasons. Rory’s too big and strong for him as well as obviously having better cardio. BJ’s going to be a mess after this one.

  • Maine2Alaska

    i like this match. Rory is pretty darn good. So if Bj takes him out, major props. I do remember seeing Rory get rocked hard by that last dude he fought. Maybe BJ can do the same thing, and capatalize on it.

  • markrenton

    BJs performance has almost always depended on his motivation to fight the guy in front of him. Fighting Koscheck meant nothing, but it seems like getting a piece of Tri Star has really got him fired up. Its hard not to like a fighter like BJ and you can never count him out when he’s on his game.

  • somecokehead

    I am more hyped to see Rory fight. BJ Penn is washed up. Brown Pride is the new Brown rep in the sport. Rory is a weirdo, but an animal in the cage. Could be a quick night for Mr. Penn. I have Rory all the way, whatever the odds.

  • trevor

    Can’t wait to see the washed up Hawaiian get dominated! Actually I will just read the news cause watching Penn fight would be like watching Tim Sylvia fighting these days…LAME

  • ThePilot

    Sounds like Penn’s coming back to get smashed for all the wrong reasons. Rory’s too big and strong for him and obviously has better cardio. Penn’s going to be a mess after this one.