UFC President Dana White Wants BJ Penn to Retire: “He’s Too Tough for His Own Good”

May 27, 2013
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BJ Penn UFC 94“He didn’t say it tonight, but I think BJ is probably going to retire, and I wouldn’t mind seeing that.”

So said UFC president Dana White following BJ Penn’s loss to Rory MacDonald at UFC on Fox 5. That was five months ago, and despite a rash of recent retirement announcements, Penn has yet to make any declaration about his career.

Forrest Griffin announced his retirement on Saturday night following UFC 160 in Las Vegas. His announcement followed those of Matt Serra, John Cholish, and Shane Carwin.

Penn, however, remains silent.

“I want BJ Penn to retire,” White reiterated during a UFC 160 post-fight scrum with members of the media.

“You’ve won belts in two different weight classes. You’re one of the greatest ever,” he continued, pointing out just a fraction of the legendary Hawaiian’s accomplishments. “You have money; you have a beautiful family.”

White understands why Penn finds it difficult to turn his back and walk away.

Penn has already tried. He retired following his UFC 137 loss to Nick Diaz, but returned little more than a year later for the fight with MacDonald.

The allure of competition and the allure of the crowd are magnetic.

“It’s hard. It’s hard to walk out of that,” said White. “That arena’s packed, everybody’s screaming your name, you’re making tons of money, and it’s hard to walk away from that.”

Warrior is an overused word in combat sports, but in BJ Penn’s case, none fits better… and that’s both a good and a bad thing.

It’s good in that Penn never quits, fighting to the final bell, entertaining the fans that have come to love him.

It’s bad in that Penn never quits, fighting to the final bell, often taken tremendous amounts of punishment.

“BJ is too tough for his own good,” White declared. “BJ might not be knocked out, but the shots BJ took would have knocked out a normal human being. He’s had his head bounced off the canvas like a basketball by Matt Hughes, by Georges St-Pierre.

“BJ Penn has left that Octagon looking like a (expletive) alien.  He’s too tough for his own good.”

And that is exactly why White wants Penn to retire. He wants Penn to ride off into the sunset and enjoy his growing family before his warrior spirit gets the better of him in the Octagon.

“You don’t knock out BJ Penn.  BJ Penn absorbs every amount of punishment you can give him, doesn’t mean he hasn’t taken damage.  He’s taken a lot of damage and I don’t want to see him take anymore.”

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  • Retnan

    Shut up White, let the man decide for himself.

  • Robust Style

    If he wants to fight let him fight. He can still fight any top guy at 155.

  • crash120ca

    I cant stand BJ penn, but its a young fighters world, he’s not got the stamina these young guys have, BJ’s a household name and he should take that with pride and hang em up, why hang em up on a 4 fight losing streak, sorry three fight losing streak.

    • Robust Style

      you’re dumb

    • Lucas Freire

      Who cares about losing streaks,he’s not the champion anymore but he only fights the best of the best. His last 6 fights were all against top fighters,and other than Hughes all of them were on the top of their game, and even though he lost all(and a draw with Fitch) all those fights were real wars. He doesn’t have the stamina anymore, but he is the prodigy and he has the talent to take on most opposition at 155.

  • robc

    I agree. Let him fight but for the love of god at 155 not at 170. Being in the ring with guys like Rory, GSP and Hughes is where he sustained much of his damage. He was never a big 170 pounder and in fact an average sized 155 fighter (probably smaller than Benson Henderson). There are a lot of interesting fights for him at 155 but going back in at 170 will get him beat up bad… again.

    • Ian Price

      Totally agreed. He could fight at featherweight if he wanted to.


    I always thought BJ Penn was a soft wimp and vastly overrated. Nick Diaz humiliated the overrated Penn.

    • Ian Price

      BJ is a natural lightweight. Diaz can fight at middleweight. And BJ went the distance with friggin Machida!

  • Cereal Killer

    He’s 1-4-1 in his last 6 fights and the win was over a retiring Hughes. It’s time to hang it up.

  • Sir_Roy

    “It’s good in that Penn never quits, fighting to the final bell, entertaining the fans that have come to love him.”

    Mad respect for B.J, but I kinda lol’d at that comment as it brought me back to GSP vs B.J Penn 2. B.J promised Georges he’d make him quit … and the inverse happened. B.J quit after the 4th round.

    So yeah, never say never. Still, I do get the sentiment the writer was trying to convey. I also get the feeling that Dana is saying “we don’t want to have to shell out top dollar for you anymore B.J as you are no longer worth top dollar”. Just doesn’t want to say it directly.

    • lowlb

      Yes. I think Dana and the UFC are concerned with the long-term health of their fighters. They don’t want a bunch of retired, broke UFC zombies out there.

    • Ian Price

      BJ, again, is a lightweight. GSP is taller, longer, weighs more. GSP said he could drop to LW…. Lets see him fight BJ at 155 then!

  • FightProfessor

    Met him in person real cool guy,i think if he’s in shape at 155 he can hang with the best of them.He’s just at a size advantage trying to fight at 170.

  • Baller31

    BJ Penn is still an amazing fighter….when he fights at 155 he is a match for anyone…the Edgar fights were very close, and other than that he has destroyed everyone he fought at 155, and i believe he still could. The problem is he always fights at 170 where he is vastly undersized. He should drop to 155 and take another shot at the belt.

    • Ian Price

      Come on BJ, drop that weight and go to war!!

    • Me

      he’s too slow now and has nothing left in what was already a suspect gas tank – penn won’t win any fights against the top tier in any weight class he can make – he always crushed his opponents, whenever someone put the screws to him and turned it into a dogfight he visibly gave up and got beat up – he’d have nothing but dogfights at best now
      no shame in retiring when your body isn’t up to it anymore

      • Baller31

        The only person at 155 to beat him is Edgar…in very close fights. He went the distance both times. First fight many thought he won….so he is definitely still among the top 155 pounders…and could make 145 if he wanted. Plenty of gas left in that tank.

  • julian moran

    Let him fight at lw. He would beat TJ Grant who is fighting for the title.

  • Lawdog1521

    As a BJ fan it’s frustrating because when he on he’s on. He’s a blood drinking beast. But when he’s off, he’s way off. And as much as I love to see the guy fight, if he’s just going to stand there and take a beating, he needs to retire.


    BJ Penn is the most overrated MMA fighter in history. maybe average at best. Too soft and wimpy.

    • Baller31

      If you knew anything about mma you would never insult BJ Penn’s credentials….he has an amazing resume, titles in two weight classes, and even fought a light heavyweight…Machida…put another 155 pounder in with Machida and see what happens! He has destroyed everyone at his weight except for Edgar…and most believe he won the first fight…both fights were very close. Yeah, wimpy is the last thing BJ Penn is.

    • hardfu

      Not overrated… just lazy. The guy had the POTENTIAL to be one of the greatest of all time. It’s hard to say there was anyone else out there with half the raw talent he had. But that was his flaw. He never trained hard… his talent carried him far but he could have been so much more. So overrated is the wrong word here… and average… and wimpy. 1 outta 4… meh.


    BJ vs Melendez or BJ vs Nate Diaz before he retires

  • claudale

    Dana’s pushing everyone to retire so he doesnt have to use them, but they cant change their mind and fight elsewhere either. (Remember Couture)

    It’s rude and disrespectful how Dana announces retirements for people now.

    • Sir_Roy

      To a degree, I agree. Dana wants his big names to retire, but he also doesn’t want to see them and their big names branded in another promotion.

      He wants ownership of these fighters after their retirement as well – wants his cake, and wants to eat it too as the saying goes. That’s why he sets up “dummy” jobs for some of the star fighters upon retirement.

  • Ron Wheeler

    He comes back he could do okay, but he needs to:
    – cut weight (155 tops, 145 better)
    – train seriously at a modern MMA camp
    – learn wrestling, legkicks