Even in the early 2000s, most fighters spent time honing their skills elsewhere before stepping into the Octagon, but not BJ Penn. Quickly deemed “The Prodigy,” the young grappling superstar made his MMA debut fighting under the UFC banner, winning his first three fights straight out of the gate.
After destroying Joey Gilbert, Din Thomas, and Caol Uno in succession, Penn stepped into a fight for the lightweight championship in just his fourth trip to the Octagon. He ended up losing a majority decision to Jens Pulver, but that only proved to be a temporary setback.
Penn stormed back into the Octagon at UFC 37 on May 10, 2002, where – like he did in his first three victories – he made short work of Paul Creighton.
Shortly after the fight at UFC 37, Penn sat down with MMAWeekly.com founder Ryan Bennett to talk about the victory, his career, and his goals as a 23-year-old prodigy.
Enjoy this #ThrowbackThursday with BJ Penn…