Surefire Hall of Fame fighter B.J. Penn shocked many the MMA world when he said he was retiring from the sport following a loss to Nick Diaz last year. Still, as genuine as Peen appeared, countless fans believed it would only be a matter of time before the former UFC champion had a change of heart and signed to compete once again. Now, several months removed from the announcement, “The Prodigy” seems happy with his decision.
Penn, a former lightweight and welterweight title-holder, lost three of his last five fights, defeating Matt Hughes and going to a draw with Jon Fitch in the other two. The defeat at the hands of Diaz at UFC 137 left him looking like a fighter who was nearing the end.
“I’m enjoying my time away from the sport,” said Penn, in a recent interview with ESPN. “That’s where I am right now. I’m living a regular life instead of living the roller coaster.”
Penn has been fighting since 2001, so the rigors of the sport have taken a toll both mentally and physically on the Hawaii native, as he added, “I haven’t (lived a normal life) in 15 years. I’m trying to find myself a little bit – not as a fighter trying to come back to the sport, but just as a person.”
UFC President Dana White talked recently about hoping Penn would decide to return with the UFC planning a show for Hawaii this year. That doesn’t seem to be enough at the moment to get Penn back inside the Octagon, however.
“We would just have to sit down and talk about what made sense,” Penn said. “That’s amazing they are finally deciding to go to Hawaii, but I wouldn’t want to waste Dana’s time, getting his hopes up on something he wants to put together.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC