Former two-division UFC champion BJ Penn came out of retirement at UFC Fight Night 103 on Jan. 15 to take on rising featherweight Yair Rodriguez in the fight card’s main event. The UFC Hall of Fame member suffered the worst, one-sided loss in his legendary career to the 24-year-old up-and-comer from Mexico.
Prior to his return last Sunday, Penn hadn’t fought since July 2014. The loss to Rodriguez was Penn’s fourth consecutive defeat. He has only one win since 2010. And after his UFC Fight Night Phoenix performance, many are calling for the Hawaiian to hang up his gloves.
Penn’s coach, Jason Parillo, would support Penn if he wanted to fight again, but would rather see “The Prodigy” retire.
“They always say that there’s one more fight in a great fighter and we felt that this was it. We felt we could beat (Rodriguez). And I’d like to think we still can, you know what I mean? We’re always going to think that about BJ,” said Parillo backstage following the fight.
“BJ is a realist. He knows whether he should keep going or not. I’m sure he will sit back and think about it. BJ is a fighter through and through. It’s going to be hard for him to not want to come back,” he said. “I’m very supportive of BJ retiring.”
When you have the name recognition and legacy of BJ Penn, you don’t get offered middle of the road opponents. You’re the measuring stick for rising talent with momentum, or taking on top ranked guys.
“Unfortunately, BJ never gets put in there with a guy that we call it a shake-off-the-rust a little bit or a tune-up fight. BJ doesn’t do tune-up fights. He fights nothing but Top 10 guys, champions, and up-and-coming killers,” Parillo pointed out.
Despite his recent losses, Penn’s legacy is still intact. He’s still a Hall of Famer. He’s still a two-division UFC champion. Parillo believes that there’s nothing left for Penn to prove.
“I think he’s done enough for the sport. He’s a two-time world champion. There are only a few guys that have been able to do that. He’s done everything that he needs to do,” he said.
Parillo believes it’s time for Penn to step away from fighting, but wouldn’t be surprised if he continued.
“If he said that he wanted to fight again, I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m not encouraging him to do it,” he said.
“Do I think BJ will retire? I think he’s ready to walk out to pasture. But if he said he wasn’t, it wouldn’t shock me.”