I have to say that I was a little surprised when Dana White opened up the door following the UFC on FOX 5 for the BJ Penn retirement talk. It didn’t take long for media members to pile on the bandwagon while the fans appear to be the most sensible on the subject. Nobody wants to see BJ retire. What they do want to see is BJ switch divisions.
Anyone with a clue saw a terrible matchup for Penn leading into the fight with Rory MacDonald. MacDonald was too big on paper for someone of Penn’s size to manhandle on the ground the way he did in the lightweight division. The result of the fight wasn’t surprising to me. The fact that Penn was still standing after absorbing the best from the bigger, stronger, younger opponent is what impressed me most about the fight.
White’s stance on Penn is curious at best. BJ Penn is not a guy that has been repeatedly knocked out or embarrassed. Penn is a guy that has been fighting in a bigger weight class and gone the distance against the best in the division. Penn even won a round against Nick Diaz, the true number one contender according to champion Georges St-Pierre’s coaches. This is not a guy that I see on the downside of his career. This is a guy that I see who has either been mismanaged or misguided and why White can’t see that is beyond me.
Penn should return to the lightweight division at 155 immediately. I think Penn could not only be competitive in the division, but he could even earn himself a title shot. Would you not want to see Penn vs. Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard, Jim Miller, or Anthony Pettis? I would and I think he has as good a chance of beating any of those guys as anyone. How can Dana White or anyone in the media not see this?
I always find White’s inconsistencies when it comes to retirement laughable. He’ll prefer BJ Penn retire yet book Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, and Mark Coleman past their primes. I would argue that BJ Penn now is a much more competitive fighter than any of those fighters in their last fights. So why is anyone rushing to push him out of the UFC?