BJ Penn retired from Mixed Martial Arts as one of the most polarizing figures in the UFC after getting pounded by Nick Diaz at UFC 137.
Penn looked done. Diaz toyed with Penn in the menacing way that he stalks opponents around the ring. There is no shame in losing to a talented opponent but the way that Penn lost had to leave a bad taste in his mouth.
Now Penn has a chance for some mouthwash. Well, Penn will get his chance at a Listerine-tasting win in a bout with Rory MacDonald.
Penn’s accolades are impressive, but you don’t win current fights based on your previous wins against different opponents.
Penn wants to go out on top but McDonald has his own agenda as well.
He is trying to move up the totem pole at 170 lbs. He is nearing title contention.
A victory over Penn thrusts McDonald into the national spotlight. He would become a household name.
But “The Prodigy” has a lot of incentive to perform at his best in this fight. For the MMA World, his best is a scary proposition.
But maybe his time has past. Maybe Penn doesn’t have another great performance in him. The Prodigy had one of the best peaks in MMA history, he has owned two UFC belts and became the first American to win a gold medal at the World Jiu Jitsu Championships.
Still, MacDonald is on the way up, Penn on the way out. And those victories were a long time ago.