Former two-division UFC champion B.J. Penn retired from fighting following three consecutive losses in 2013. But then one day, while sitting on his couch in Hawaii, Penn suddenly found inspiration to return to the cage.
Penn saw a 40-year-old Mark Hunt fighting for the interim UFC heavyweight championship and the desire to fight engulfed him.
“You know what really woke me up one day? I was still 36. I was sitting on the couch knowing that I was done. I was looking at the TV. I wasn’t really following the sport because it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. I was looking, and was like, what? Mark Hunt is 40 and is fighting for the title? I’ve got to get off this couch,” Penn told Inside MMA.
“What am I doing? Mark Hunt, another Polynesian, he’s 40, and he’s in there for the title. What am I doing at 36? I’ve got no excuses. I’ve got to get up. I’ve got to go. Let’s do this. I’ve got to start making some calls,” he said.
He made a Christmas Day phone call to trainer Greg Jackson and launched a plan to make one last run at the 145-pound title. Although a couple of earlier fights fell through, Penn, already a UFC Hall of Famer, is expected to fight Dennis Siver this summer at UFC 199.