Despite his struggles in recent years, B.J. Penn has continued to soldier onward in his mixed martial arts career. That could be changing, however.
In an Instagram Live interview with coach Jason Parillo, “The Prodigy” admitted that the preparation for a fight “takes too much f—-king work.”
“It takes a lot of work,” Penn said (transcription via MMAjunkie.com). “It takes too much. Too much f—-ing work. At this age, it just takes too much f—-king work. You never know what’s going to happen, but it takes so much work.”
The 41-year-old Hawaiian hasn’t been victorious in a bout since a first-round knockout of Matt Hughes in November 2010. Since that time, he has gone 0-7-1 in the Octagon, losing many of his appearances in lopsided fashion. Still, Penn has love for the sport in which he began competing professionally in 2001.
“If I can get anything else going it would be nice,” Penn said. “If I could get anything else going in life than just a fist fight, it would be nice. But it’s so fun and I love the process and all those things about it. Then you get in the gym and start doing good with active fighters and next thing you know you’re trying to fight and biting off more than you can chew. You might be, you might not be. But the process itself, it’s a lot to just do a camp or whatever.”
If Penn does elect to compete again, it would have be outside the Las Vegas-based promotion, as issues outside the cage have prompted his release from the UFC.
Penn last competed at UFC 237, where he dropped a unanimous decision to Clay Guida for his seventh consecutive defeat. The 41-year-old Hawaii native was still supposed to receive one final Octagon bout against Nik Lentz, but UFC president Dana White decided that Penn was done competing in the promotion upon seeing the street fight videos from last August.
Last August, videos captured Penn in what appeared to be a bar fight outside Lava Shack. Two months earlier, Penn was involved in a fight with a bouncer outside a Hawaii strip club. No arrests were made in either incident.
More recently, Penn was under investigation for a possible DUI after being hospitalized in a single car crash in Hilo, Hawaii in February.
While Penn claims that he continues to have “so much people telling me to fight again,” he also realizes the toll the sport can take on an aging athlete.
“I guess when you have something to prove that’s when you can fight the best,” Penn said. “It’s like, ‘Hey man, you already proved yourself.’ It’s not about proving myself, I just really like doing this. But you can’t go out and keep getting hurt. That just don’t make sense to anybody.”
Penn, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame’s “Modern Wing” in 2015, owns a 16-14-2 career record. The Hawaiian is regarded as one of the best lightweights in the sports history and held titles in the UFC at both 155 and 170 pounds. He owns notable career wins over the likes of Matt Hughes, Takanori Gomi, Jens Pulver, Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, Joe Stevenson, Diego Sanchez and Caol Uno, to name a few.