BJ Penn isn’t quite sure what direction his fighting future is taking following a sixth consecutive defeat.
Penn most recently stepped into the Octagon at UFC 232 where he was submitted 2:46 into his fight with Ryan Hall. It was the first submission loss of his career, but also the Hawaiian’s sixth loss in a row, a string that followed a draw with Jon Fitch in 2011. Penn hasn’t won a fight since beating Matt Hughes at UFC 123 in November 2010.
If UFC president Dana White had his druthers, Penn would retire.
“He went down to Brazil, trained hard for this thing, got into great shape, the camp was raving about him. He got caught in a submission (at UFC 232),” said White at the post-fight press conference. “B.J. Penn is one of the legends of the sport and helped build this company. I would love to see B.J. retire.”
Penn, however, isn’t so certain. Though Hall caught him in a deep heel hook, Penn told a reporter on his own website, BJPenn.com, that he is currently taking some time to heal before determining what’s next.
“It is swollen. There’s some bruising and what not. But it wasn’t my knee. It was my ankle that popped. It is what it is. Hats off to Ryan Hall, that submission was the perfect storm,” said Penn.
“I just got back home to Hawaii. I’m going to let my ankle heal up and then I will contemplate what is next for my life.”
Penn will likely always have a home with the UFC, but as the losses mount, it gets more and more difficult to justify him returning to the Octagon. Penn hasn’t taken a lot of damage over the years, but having begun his fighting career at UFC 31 in 2001, as White said, the 40-year-old has nothing left to prove to anyone, accept maybe himself.
“(MMA) is not for older men,” said White. “B.J. is a multiple-time world champion in multiple divisions and he’s got nothing to prove. People love him and he’s a legend and he’s done it all. There’s nothing left to do in my opinion.”