One of the greatest fighters to ever step inside the cage is B.J. Penn. Penn is a former two-time lightweight champion, a former welterweight champion and is one of the most dynamic grapplers in the lighter weight classes. He has beat a who’s who in his fighting tenure, defeating the likes of Matt Hughes, Takanori Gomi, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk and Jens Pulver.
The only glaring weakness Penn is known for is his lack of motivation at times and his conditioning issues. Facing elite competition in the bigger weight classes, such as his fights against Georges St. Pierre and Rory MacDonald, he was simply outmatched. As of late, Penn seems to be on the downside of his career, but does this mean he should retire?
The answer can go two ways. If he is going to compete in the welterweight division, then yes, he should retire. He simply can’t compete with the elite athletes in that division, who cut an extraordinary amount of weight to fight there in the first place. However, there are some interesting fights to be made for Penn at lightweight, a division that he dominated for years until squaring off with Frankie Edgar.
When Penn fought at lightweight, he was dominant and was competitive against every fighter he faced. Now, he wouldn’t fight for a title right off, but some intriguing bouts could still be made with opponents such as Edson Barboza, Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz or even Gilbert Melendez. Each fight would be entertaining, as all of these fighters like to stand and trade, something Penn is accustomed to and would certainly motivate him to train hard. A win over either of these opponents would be huge, and would reassert him in the division’s rankings.
Do you think Penn should keep fighting against elite competition? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.